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A. EAGLEFIELD HULL, Mus. Doc. (Oxon.) 
Crown 8vo. Occasionally Illustrated. 






Broadway House, 68-74 Carter Lane, London, E.G. 

Photo, by A. Z. Cabin 



Composer, Poet and Philosopher 




With numerous Musical and other Illustrations 

Second Edition 

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V- '/ \' A - lV( - 










V CHAMBER Music 59 







XII CONCLUSION -------- 169 





PHOTOGRAPH (by Alwyn Langdon Coburn) Frontispiece 


(Rough Sketch of an unpublished work) - 55 


(From the Pianoforte Concerto) - - - 142-3 





THE dominant feature of Cyril Scott's music 
is its originality, that is to say, its modernity. 
He is an innovator. We hear so much of 
Modernism nowadays, and like most of the other 
art-terms commonly bandied about, it seems to 
have no very precise meaning. To say that a 
musician is a Modernist is about as enlightening 
as to say he is an Impressionist. All men 
worthy of the name are modernists, all musical 
composers cannot be anything else but impres- 
sionists. Modernism is nothing more than 
innovation. Further, Ultra-modernism, if any- 
thing, should express merely the degree of the 
orientation of the artist's outlook towards the 
future ; whereas it is often applied to artists who 
are thought to have lost all touch with 



their age. The word also is not infrequently 
used derisively by those critics who sprawl 
about with such vague catch-words as Neo- 
Impressionism, Symbolism and Fauvism. The 
term Modernist then should, rightly speaking, 
be given only to the man who is progressive in 
idea and in style. New wine cannot safely 
be put into old wineskins ; and so it has come 
about that music has effloresced into innumerable 
styles. Some composers, like Debussy, create a 
new harmonic system ; others, like Scriabin, in- 
vent a new way of using harmony ; others (less 
successful), like Rimmington and Edison, are 
seeking closer analogies between sound and col- 
our. Mysticism has laid its hold on music as 
well as on painting and literature. D'Ergo, the 
Belgian theorist, calls Acoustic Science to the 
help of music, just as Seurat and Signac 
have utilised the theories of scientific chromati- 
cism in their pictures. Nevertheless music is most 
valuable when it is used in its purest mode, 
and it is found only at its highest powers in instru- 
mental forms. In these days of analytical science 
and material aims, it is refreshing to have to do 
with so ideal an art, one which resists a surgeon- 
like dissection just as much as it does a solution 
by chemical process. For music is entirely a 
thing of the spirit, and when Cyril Scott asserts 


that " if a man is not musical he cannot be very 
spiritual," he is in accord with no less a mind than 
Shakespeare's. Given perfect sincerity, a man's 
music is the key to his character, the reflection 
of his soul ; it gives the most reliable index to 
the man who composes it, and also to the man 
who interprets it. 

In studying Cyril Scott's music we shall find 
there the key to his richly-endowed personality, 
a personality modern, intuitive, sensitive, com- 
plex, unified and sincere. 

If cornered and compelled to classify himself, 
I believe he would call himself a Romantic, for 
I have read the exceedingly lucid chapter in his 
Philosophy of Modernism 1 dividing the whole 
field of art into three camps ; Classicism, Ro- 
manticism and Futurism. The latter school he 
rightly prefers to call Monsterism. As the 
Classicist adhering blindly to tradition and con- 
vention regards even the obvious as a virtue, the 
Romanticist aims at the creation of a new style, 
always remembering the limits imposed by the 
canons of beauty and art. The Futurist struggling 
to be new at all costs, and without limits, is by 
that very fact imposing on himself a convention 
as shackling as the traditional one of the Classicist. 

1 The Philosophy of Modernism in its Connection with Music. 
(Kegan Paul). 


To use Cyril Scott's own simile from the same 
book, " the Classicist is like a pedestrian who em- 
barks on a walking tour with the firm intention 
of keeping entirely to the roads ; the Futurist is 
like a man w r ho starts with the opposite intention 
of keeping entirely off the roads ; thus both these 
pedestrians are the slaves of their respective in- 
tentions, and only the man who starts out with a 
perfect freedom of choice, to follow or leave the 
road whenever he thinks fit, may be truly regard- 
ed as unbound by fetters. And this man, ad- 
justed to the plane of art, is the true Roman- 

Cyril Scott has brought the " sense of new- 
ness " into the art of music afresh. This sense 
is as difficult to define 1 as the sense of 
sweetness would be to the man who has never 
tasted sugar ; or as the song of the nightingale to 
one who has never heard this true Romanticist 
amongst the song-birds. Such a composer will 
be open to be called a poseur; but, as 
he says, the true poseur is rather the so- 
called Classicist, who regards dissimilitude as 
bad taste, whilst the Romanticist scorns simili- 
tude as objectionable, a thing to be avoided at all 

l Scott defined it once as " merely the intensified consciousness of 
such weakness and tedium as arises from repetition and imitation." 


" That is too obvious," he remarked once when 
I suggested some orchestral scoring to him. On 
another occasion, when at the organ, his own 
discords, which are too keen for many people, 
sounded " too sweet and cloying" to him. 

I do not promise that everything I am going 
to say in this book will be agreeable to all, al- 
though I shall avoid as far as possible any parti 
pris. Great admirer as I am of most of Scott's 
music, and also of the man himself, I do not like 
all his music, nor the remainder of it equally 
well, any more than I agree unreservedly 
with many of his clever pungent sayings. I feel 
certain, however, that a wider knowledge of his 
music, and no less of his many novel views, will 
be advantageous to all interested in art. Where- 
as new views, new thoughts, and indeed anything 
savouring of change, will always be distasteful to 
some, we cannot stop the onward march of things 
any more than the leopard can change his spots. 
To the conservatives I would suggest that going 
forward into the future, with one's gaze fixed on 
the past, is as foolish a proceeding as for a soldier 
to go into action with his back to the foe. At 
the best it is not the sign of a fine spirit, nor will 
he get the first glimpse of such glories as the 
future may hold. 




AT the time of writing this chapter, Cyril 
Scott, at my request, has come on a visit, 
in order to play me those particular works of 
his which it were otherwise difficult to hear. 
As he sits in my study, composing some Finger 
Exercises 1 with an amazing celerity, whilst I talk 
to him inconsequently about almost every sub- 
ject under the sun, I marvel at the facility which 
enables him to write down strangely novel pro- 
gressions with such an absolute sureness of effect. 
Last night I was spellbound at the nonchalant 
ease with which he played through his superb 
Piano Concerto from the full score MS., rippling 
along (as I flung the pages over almost continu- 
ously) with truly astonishing gifts of technique, 
touch and reading ; whistling the while flute and 
violin melodies, and vocalizing horn parts in a 
peculiar nasal tone, like horn notes forced 

l Since published by Messrs. Elkin & Co. 



through mutes. Where and how did he attain 
such tremendous powers? 

Cyril Scott was born on September 27th, 
1879, at Oxton (Cheshire). 

He commenced to play by ear at the age of 
two years and a half. Even in those early days, 
he could pick up any tune or hymn he heard, and 
could also improvise ; though it was not until the 
age of seven that he began to write things down, 
having received some instruction in musical no- 
tation from his governess. He was an extreme- 
ly nervous and sensitive child, and was so ill at 
one time with some nervous affection that he 
remained in the house for six months on end. 
Strangely enough, music of a certain kind his 
mother's singing, and organ music nearly al- 
ways reduced him to tears. This was particu- 
larly the case when he was taken to church. 

Cyril Scott attributes his musical gifts to his 
mother, Mary Scott, who, he says, was quite 
a brilliant amateur performer in her day. 
She even possessed the creative faculty to 
some degree and wrote one or two waltzes. 
His father, Henry Scott, on the other hand is 
a Greek scholar with no special taste for music. 
He was possessed even at one time with the idea 
that music was not likely ever to prove a suitable 
or lucrative profession for his son. Seeing, how- 


ever, that Cyril was so passionately set on be- 
coming a musician, he very wisely and generous- 
ly allowed him to go to Germany at the age of 
twelve, where, though under age, the Hoch Kon- 
servatorium at Frankfort-on-Maine took him in. 
The young boy was placed with a family in that 
town, and combined both music and general edu- 
cation for eighteen months. In Frankfort a 
friendship was begun with Mr. T. Holland- 
Smith (now master of music and modern lan- 
guages in Durham), then some twenty-four years 
of age, and who was a student at the Konserva- 
torium. He took a great interest in young 
Scott, and helped to make his life happy in every 
possible way, by taking him on excursions and to 
concerts and operas, besides encouraging him 
greatly in his musical studies. Needless to say, 
for so young a boy to find such a companion of 
that type was indeed a piece of good fortune. He 
remembers one day when they were talking 
about composition, that Holland-Smith said to 
him, "In order to be a great composer a man 
must invent a style." That remark stuck 
in Scott's memory, and he made up his 
mind that he would try to carry out the con- 
ditions embodied in the phrase. This friendship 
has extended over twenty-three years now r . I 
understand that the music of Cyril Scott is a 


great feature of Durham musical education, and 
thus Mr. Holland-Smith has done him the ser- 
vice of making propaganda for him. 

On his return to England, Scott was placed 
with a tutor, Mr. C. H. Jeaffreson, M.A., 
of Liverpool (a brother of Rosa Newmarch), 
a versatile man who presented education in 
an interesting light. Young Scott enjoyed 
his lessons with him in a way, he feels, he 
could never have done at school. Besides 
which, the boy had a curious loathing of hearing 
anybody being scolded, and was so sensitive in 
the matter that his parents recognised that 
school-life would be torture to him ; apart from 
the fact that after his Frankfort experiences, it 
would be difficult to adjust him in any school- 
class. Music, however, was not neglected dur- 
ing this period, and Cyril Scott studied piano- 
forte with the late Steudner-Welsing, a Vien- 
nese, who lived for some years in Liverpool. Dur- 
ing that time, the youth crossed each day in the 
ferry-boat between Birkenhead and Liverpool 
(Oxton, his birth-place, being a suburb of Birk- 
enhead), and was noticed on his way to his 
tutor by Mr. Hans Luthy, a gentleman of 
Swiss origin, while walking each day to his 
office. Seeing him one evening at a party given 
by Mrs. Tom Fletcher, a leader in the Liverpool 


musical world, Mr. Luthy contrived to sit next 
to him ; and thus began a friendship which 
proved to be of great value. Both Mr. Luthy 
and his wife were people of great culture, musical 
and otherwise, and took young Scott into the 
bosom of their family, as the phrase goes, giving 
him the greatest possible encouragement. Very 
numerous were the times he stayed in their hos- 
pitable home. Mr. Luthy put books in his way, 
and encouraged a course of reading in science, 
philosophy and aesthetics, which proved of the 
greatest value to the composer in after-life. 
Scott feels he owes to this gentleman a debt of 
gratitude which it will be impossible to repay. 

It was at this time that the young musician 
found it hard to make up his mind whether to 
become a pianist, and concentrate all his ener- 
gies in that direction, or to choose the steeper 
path of becoming a composer. There was 
some talk about his going to Vienna to study 
with Paderewski's master, Letchetizsky, but 
finally the love of composition gained the day, 
and he decided, at the age of sixteen and a half, 
to return to Frankfort to study with Ivan Knorr, 
who was a truly great master of harmony, 
counterpoint and composition. 


A few words about Knorr may prove instruc- 
tive. Although Ivan Knorr was born in Mewe, 
near the Polish frontier, on January 3, 1853, yet 
he spent a large part of his life in Russia. He 
was of a distinctly Russian appearance, had Rus- 
sian sympathies (musical and otherwise), and 
married a Russian. Indeed, from the age of 
three, until he entered the Leipsic Conserva- 
toire in 1869 to study under Reinecke, he 
lived amongst the Russian people, returning 
to them in 1874 as teacher of music at Khar- 
koff ; so if the greatest part of his life were not 
spent out of Germany, yet at any rate the most 
impressionable part was ; a fact which mani- 
fests itself in his music, as we shall see later. 
In 1883 Knorr became Professor of Har- 
mony, Counterpoint and Composition at the 
Hoch Konservatorium at Frankfort-on-Maine, 
where he remained until his death, becoming 
Director at the retirement of Dr. Bernard Scholz 
some eight or nine years ago. " You must 
learn the rules," he would say to his pupils, " so 
that you may know how to break them later on." 
This attitude in a teacher of composition is 
almost without parallel, and shows he was 
not a Classicist, as most celebrated teachers 
have been, but a true Romanticist. Knorr 
was greater as a teacher than as a composer, 


though had he concentrated more of his energies 
on composition, this might have been otherwise ; 
for in every phase of his creative talent there is 
an undeniable charm. He was much influ- 
enced by the Russian spirit, and notably by 
Tchaikovsky, for whom he entertained a great 
admiration. Knorr was, in fact, a personal 
friend of the Russian composer and wrote a book 
on his genius, which is a masterpiece of poetic 
language, free from that German heaviness so 
often to be found in books of the kind. Ivan 
Knorr died in 1916. He numbered amongst 
his pupils several British composers Percy 
Grainger, Roger Quilter, Norman O'Neill, Bal- 
four Gardiner, Leonard Berwick and F. S. 
Kelly. Of Knorr, Cyril Scott can never speak 
gratefully enough ; for though putting him 
through the rules, he encouraged originality in 
a sense most composition pedagogues fail to 
grasp. 1 

It was at this time that Cyril Scott met many 
musical affinities ; Percy Grainger, Roger Quilter 
and Norman O'Neill were among his fellow- 
students. But the man who exercised the great- 
est aesthetic influence on him was the German 
poet, Stefan George, whom he met in his 

l From an article on Ivan Knorr by Cyril Scott in the Monthly 
Musical Record. 


eighteenth year, and who made of him, so he 
puts it, an artist and not merely a musician. He 
proved to be the greatest personality Scott 
has encountered a poet of true genius with 
a face of the Dante type. Moreover, this 
poet developed in Cyril Scott a passionate 
love of poetry and taught him much respect- 
ing the technique of that art. Through 
him, he became first acquainted with the verses 
of Ernest Dowson which have exercised so great 
an influence on Scott's musical style of song- 
writing. It was also through Stefan George that 
his First Symphony was performed at Darmstadt 
by the Dutch conductor Willem de Haan. 

Towards his twentieth year, Scott left Frank- 
fort and went back to Liverpool, having com- 
posed his Symphony and one or two chamber- 
music works now r destroyed. There he gave a 
piano recital, and took up his residence for some 
years, composing and giving a few lessons. 
Here again he contracted another very import- 
ant friendship. The French poet, Charles 
Bonnier, w r as at the time Professor of French 
Literature at the University of Liverpool. 
Having met, the two finally took a house to- 
gether, although Bonnier was a man much older 
than Scott. He had been a great friend of 
Mallarme and was thoroughly imbued with that 


school of French poetry, as well as being a pas- 
sionate lover of music. This noble and unselfish 
man, as Scott designates him, was also a philoso- 
pher and socialist, and their sojourn together was 
one of great happiness and profit for the young 
composer, for he was thus saturated with an at- 
mosphere of poetry and philosophy. One day 
Scott was anxious to get a translation of some 
German verses which he had set to music, and 
Bonnier remarked to him, "Why don't you 
translate them yourself? ' And so the attempt 
was made ; and to his surprise he found he could 
rhyme quite easily. This incident awakened in 
him the poetic faculty, and from that time to 
this, whenever tired of writing music he has 
turned to poetry, which interests and delights 
him not a whit less than music. He regards it 
as another form of music, and hazards the opinion 
that the poetry of a musician must always have 
a distinctive flavour about it. It is curious 
that so few musicians have been poets ; 
rather have painting and poetry gone hand in 
hand hitherto. It was at about the age of 
twenty-one that Cyril Scott began writing verse. 
At that period Scott wrote the Heroic Suite 
for orchestra. Hans Richter was much taken 
with it and produced it in both Manchester and 
Liverpool. This Suite, however, Scott came 


to regard later on as an immature work and no 
longer permits a performance of it. At that time 
he went over to Germany to hear his Symphony 
at Darmstadt, where it was received with loud 
applause mingled with hisses. 

His overture to Pelleas and Melisande was per- 
formed in Frankfort shortly afterwards. It is 
strange how strongly this play of Maeterlinck 
has stirred musicians to expression. Schonberg, 
Debussy, Loeffler and others have also set 
the subject to music. Scott stayed some months 
in Frankfort and then visited Berlin for the first 
time, being introduced by his friend Stefan 
George to a literary circle there. As the result 
of this visit he made the acquaintance of a great 
painter and stained-glass window designer, Mel- 
chior Lechter, 1 a remarkable mystic as well as 
artist, another who made a great impression on 
Scott, and, though much older, became a lasting 

On his return to England, Cyril Scott com- 
posed the Pianoforte Quartet which Kreisler and 
others played at a Broad wood Concert in St. 
James' Hall. This work helped to make him 
known better than any other music which he had 
so far composed. Messrs. Boosey & Co. then 

l Melchior Lechter was born in the sixties. His paintings are of 
a most ideal and spiritual type. 


began to publish his songs and also the Two 
Pierrot Pieces for Piano which became fairly 
popular, though he owed his first publication to 
Mr. Robin Legge (now the Musical Editor of 
the "Daily Telegraph"). He it was who in- 
duced Forsyth to produce a series of little piano- 
forte pieces. These were, however, but "nib- 
blings " in the publishing line, and he only found 
his most enterprising publisher when his friend, 
Miss Evelyn Suart, the pianist, took up his piano 
works and played them frequently, and intro- 
duced him to Mr. W. A. Elkin, of Elkin & Co. 
This far-sighted and gifted publisher made a con- 
tract with him, and became the sole publisher of 
his songs, and, for some years, of his piano pieces 
as well. At this time Scott was also writing his 
Second Symphony, \vhich Sir Henry J. Wood 
performed at the "Promenades," where it was 
extremely well received, though (for reasons 
difficult to divine) it has not been given again, 
in spite of many requests in the papers for fur- 
ther hearings of it. 

A close reading of Science and Philosophy 
had continued all these years, and at the age of 
twenty-five, Scott came into contact with Oc- 
cultism and Eastern Mysticism, a matter which 
changed the whole tenor of his inner life, and 
this new interest made a great impression on his 


musical tendencies. Under the inspiration of 
Mysticism, he wrote Lotus-land, Sphinx, Two 
Chinese Songs, and other pieces of a like nature, 
and he also began to get rid of " key-tonality ' 
as it is usually understood ; finding it a distinct 
limitation, and preferring to write in what is 
more like the "chromatic scale" than any dia- 
tonic one. This led him on to another dis- 
covery, that regular rhythm was also a limita- 
tion ; and in his twenty-eighth year he wrote his 
first work in this new style the Sonata for Vio- 
lin and Piano (which Schott & Co., 1 of Mainz, 

Following the Violin Sonata, he wrote in the 
same non-tonal, free rhythmic style, the Piano- 
forte Sonata, and then the Second Suite, after 
which came The Jungle Book, Poems, Egypt, 
etc. ; also some lighter pieces for violin, the 
latest and best of which are the Two Sonnets. 

During these years, however, he did not con- 
fine his efforts to songs and smaller pieces, but 
wrote a Rhapsody and also the Aubade for Or- 
chestra, both being written in the newer style. 
The Aubade was (with some difficulty respecting 
rehearsals) pei formed in Darmstadt, Dresden 
and Berlin. He also composed an Overture to 

l This firm made a contract with him later on for all his violin 


Princess Maleine, with chorus a work which 
was given with great success in Vienna. There 
was also an Arabesque which he conducted in 
Birmingham. As to chamber works, he had 
reworked an old String Quartet written in 
his twenty-sixth year, and this was performed a 
good deal by the Rebner Quartet party in Ger- 
many, the Piano Sonata being played by 
Moekle at a number of German towns about the 
same year, 1905. So that by this time Cyril 
Scott was beginning to be pretty well known on 
the Continent. Of his first two Symphonies, 
No. 1 was destroyed and No. 2 became the Three 
Symphonic Dances, one of which he conducted 
at a Balfour-Gardiner Concert in the Queen's 
Hall. About his thirty-first year he embarked 
on a large choral work, Nativity Hymn (words 
by Richard Crawshaw), preceded by a Christmas 
Overture, a work which was to have been per- 
formed in Vienna. This he completed three 
years later, but owing to the war, the score and 
parts are either stranded in Germany or mis- 
laid elsewhere. After this he wrote the Two 
Passacaglias on Irish themes for Orchestra, 
which were performed by Beecham at the Phil- 
harmonic Concerts. Cyril Scott regards these two 
works, the Nativity Hymn and the Passacaglias, 
as his most effective orchestral writings. His 


next work was the Pianoforte Quintet (per- 
formed at one of his own Concerts at Bechstein 
Hall), and finally came the Pianoforte Concerto 
which he played at the British Festival last spring 
and which reaped a great public success. 

Scott's reputation on the Continent is of quite 
a different order from his general recognition in 
England. In this country he is largely regarded 
as a composer of songs and piano pieces, whilst 
abroad his songs are almost unknown, and he is 
judged exclusively by his more serious works. 
For one thing, it is so difficult to obtain the ade- 
quate number of rehearsals in England for works 
unless they are easy ; and certainly the works of 
Cyril Scott can hardly be so described. Yet it 
is a very discouraging feature about British music 
that even when a large work has reaped a great 
success in England, it is rarely heard again. 
Why is this? 




LET me attempt some estimate of the man him- 
self. First, the outer man. He is of medium 
height and of a spareness bordering on the fra- 
gile. His head is small some think this is a 
never-failing sign of the spiritual man ; his face 
contains at times the benign sadness of enlight- 
ened middle-age; at others, it is radiant with 
youth, and sometimes is even lit with a spark of 
what can only be called "impishness." The 
features are finely cut, and (helped by his habit 
of always wearing a stock tie) suggest a Georgian 
type, though he is clean shaven and does not 
allow himself that affected revival of the side- 
whiskers. His hands are small and beautifully 
shaped, apparently quite inadequate in size and 
strength to the prodigious effect which they can 
produce on the keyboard. 

That Cyril Scott's interests are not those of 



the average man, goes without saying. His con- 
ception of his art places him at once above banali- 
ties ; but even beyond this, he has obtained by 
years of study, coupled with marvellous intuitive 
faculties, a knowledge of the superphysical 
realms which causes him to stand aloof from the 
ordinary tempestuous life of the artist. His life 
and work both show a certain poise a detach- 
ment from the frets and worries of this world, 
and a deeper insight and understanding of the 
fuller life of the soul. His inspiration comes from 
higher spiritual sources than that of the man who 
is flung from one earthly sensation to another, 
tossed by his emotions, as by the waves of a rough 
sea. It has been said by one who knows him well 
that Cyril Scott is a hundred years in advance of 
his age. Time alone can prove this ; but inasmuch 
as one hopes for the development of man on the 
lines of greater sanity, kindness, and unselfish 
love, his outlook would seem to form a pattern 
for a more perfect type. His kindness and gen- 
erosity are unending, and always accompanied 
by the tact that comes from understanding and 
sympathy. He has been called a poseur by a 
few acquaintances whose imagination cannot in- 
clude the possibility of an order of mind so differ- 
ent from their own. And yet never was man 
more utterly natural. His directness is some- 


times disconcerting to those accustomed to a 
cotton-wool wrapping of conventionality in their 
views of men, music and things. Perhaps this 
inclination to regard him as a poseur also arises 
from his surroundings, for he chooses to live in 
what cannot be called otherwise than a distinctly 
ecclesiastical atmosphere. Nor does he stop 
short at Gothic and ascetic furniture enhanced 
by beautiful stained-glass windows, designed by 
Burne- Jones and presented to him by a valued 
friend, but candidly avows his fondness for 
the smell of incense, which he is constantly 
burning. "I like the ecclesiastical atmo- 
sphere," he remarks, "because in it I feel as if 
I might be anywhere ; in Italy, in the country, 
or in some remote region, in a past generation 
even." To call a man a poseur then, because 
he elects to surround himself with those forms of 
beauty which especially appeal to him and assist 
him in his work, is merely shortsighted. 

Much more could be said of his interesting 
personality, but the lover of his music and of his 
poetry will find in his works the best exposition 
of this richly-endowed nature. 

My personal acquaintance with Cyril Scott 
dates back hardly longer than eighteen months, 
and my friendship with him not more than the 
same number of weeks. It was only after I had 


conceived the idea of a book on his music (the 
more important part of which seemed to me 
very inadequately known) that I really got to 
know the man, and only then little by little as 
the book progressed. The fulfilment of my re- 
quest that he should visit me, gave me the oppor- 
tunity for a much better knowledge of him. So 
it will be seen that my admiration was not the 
result of a violent attachment at first sight, but is 
a much more natural growth. No other way 
can I imagine possible with such a personality 
as Scott ; for to my mind there is a distinct 
reserve about him, which I for one, at any 
rate, was loth to put down to conceit. This 
is not one of his vices. Talking " small talk " 
to comparative strangers he finds of almost insur- 
mountable difficulty. On the other hand, he 
has not the smallest compunction in making new 
friends, and these, by no means, need be musical. 
Indeed, as a rule, musical conversation bores him 
intensely, and he has it against the ordinary mu- 
sician that his outlook is far too limited, and that 
he is much too fond of " talking shop." Scott's 
most absorbing interest in life is transcendental 
philosophy ; and discussing occult lore and kin- 
dred subjects with a friend of like tastes is one of 
his greatest pleasures : a divertissement which 
he calls "soulful intercourse." Nevertheless 


with him philosophy is not something cold and 
remote, but a study which helps him to under- 
stand more and more the whole of human nature. 
Philosophy has enlarged his heart, and although 
he does not reveal himself to the casual passer-by, 
the area of his interests is a vast one. 

In music, however, his affections seem, at first, 
very limited ; and as he himself has stated that 
a man's creative style is largely the outcome of his 
admirations, it will be instructive to glance at 
his preferences. They begin with Bach (and 
Scarlatti to a lesser degree), and then comes a big 
hiatus until Chopin and Wagner. He confesses 
that both Mozart and Beethoven do not appeal 
to him, " except a bar or two here and there." 
Neither do Schubert nor Schumann as a whole, 
though he prefers these later composers to 
the earlier ones. Strange as it may sound, Mo- 
zart and Beethoven give him an * ' unpleasant 
sense of childishness." To him, Beethoven 
seems to have lived in an unfortunate age to 
have been a great man born at a time when musi- 
cal expression was somewhat childish. He tried 
to break away from this, but the barren age was 
too strong for him. Apart from Beethoven's 
last string quartets, Cyril Scott cannot feel 
any enthusiasm for his compositions. They seem 
bald and thin, striving to be grand and majestic, 


which they surely were in their day, but sounding 
in our present time, too obvious and often banal. 
In other words, he " has not worn well." Bach 
on the other hand has ; the polyphony and con- 
tinual flow of his music is very impressive, like 
the ceaseless rhythm of the sea. He was great 
in everything ; a great harmonist, a great melo- 
dist, a great polyphonist. Beethoven (he asserts) 
was no harmonist. Wagner he finds all-satisfy- 
ing; and entirely monumental in his great 
operas, i.e., Tristan, The Ring, and The Master- 
singers. He calls Wagner the " Shakespeare of 
music." As to Tchaikovsky, there was a time 
when Scott drew much from him, but that com- 
poser also " wears badly," and he soon grew out 
of him. He considers this Russian master lacks 
the subtle touches, his melodies being on the 
whole too obvious, though sometimes very 
beautiful. The Pianoforte Concerto and his 
Romeo and Juliet Overture " have some ex- 
quisite things in them." He regards the Rus- 
sian composer though as a much more progres- 
sive influence than Brahms. 

Many critics have talked of Cyril Scott's kin- 
ship with Debussy, but the French master him- 
self can see no similarity at all, whilst showing the 
greatest sympathy for Scott's music. Debussy 
seems certainly to have influenced Scott in some 


ways ; and, as has been well said, Debussy is such 
an exquisite artist, such a wonderful creator 
of poetic mystic tints, a harmonist moreover of 
epoch-making originality, that he surely may 
only be ignored by those too ungifted to have 
been healthily tempted by such generous oppor- 

Bizet fills Scott with delight and he prefers 
him to Beethoven, because Bizet has an element 
which appeals to him and which is lacking in 
Beethoven's music. Chopin was a wonderful 
creator, having so little to guide him into the 
new tracts ; a marvellous modernist in his time. 
Scott owes as much to Richard Strauss as to 
Debussy; the Violin Sonata and also the 
Piano Sonata show as it were a combination of 
these two masters as founts of inspiration. 
Debussy, he thinks, is always " a little too 
precieux," and in these Sonatas, Cyril Scott 
mingled the two atmospheres and thus gained 
a certain source of inspiration from them in an 
indirect sort of way. The Rhapsody for Orches- 
tra has something of the same elements. De- 
bussy likes this best of all Scott's orchestral 
works. Brahms on the other hand except for 
his songs does not appeal to Scott much, nor 
does Max Reger, a mere " elongation of 
Brahms." The brilliant Stravinsky fills him 


with admiration. . Scriabin he considers had 
great promise, but he died " whilst still a man- 
nerist. The result was monotony. Had he 
lived, he would perhaps have got beyond manner- 
ism." Prometheus struck him as a great work. 
Like Scriabin, Scott looks to music as a means 
to carry further the spiritual evolution of the 
race, and believes that it has occult properties 
of \vhich only a few enlightened people are 
aware. He has discussed this subject at length 
in the final chapter of his Philosophy of Modern- 
ism in Music. Owing to his associations with 
many psychics of great powers, he considers that 
music exhibits both thought-forms and colour 
to the psychic sight of the listener. 

If his admirations in the musical arena be 
thought limited, they are equally so in the liter- 
ary. Apart from Shakespeare and Keats and a 
few old ballads, he derives no pleasure from the 
older poets at all. Indeed, he has a genuine 
admiration for three poets only Francis Thomp- 
son, Ernest Dowson and Stefan George. Critics 
have tried to find some similarity between Swin- 
burne and Scott, but Swinburne does not appeal 
to him, and he certainly would not care to imitate 

Many of these keenly-expressed criticisms and 
admirations of Cyril Scott may make strange 


reading to some, but we should remember that 
the individual talent cannot appreciate all forms 
of greatness. Chopin did not like Beethoven ; 
nor Tchaikovsky, Bach, and so on. 

As a pianoforte virtuoso, Cyril Scott has a re- 
markable talent, and he has also a natural gift 
for conducting a faculty frequently absent 
from composers. Still more rare in musicians 
is the ability to lecture well, a gift which Scott 
certainly possesses. One of his best discourses 
is a very novel treatment of Wagner, combining 
the mystic interpretations presented by Alice 
Leighton Cleather and Basil Crump with the 
more socialistic aspects of Bernard Shaw, and 
enlarging and emphasizing certain points by this 
conjunction of aspects, showing what a variety 
and depth of meaning is to be found in the extra- 
ordinary mentality of the combined musical, 
dramatic and poetic genius of Wagner. 




FOR a correct appraisement of the music of 
Cyril Scott we must first take the larger 
works. These comprise compositions both of 
the earliest and latest periods. His First 
Symphony has been relegated to oblivion. His 
second one, highly esteemed in its time, has been 
transformed into the Three Orchestral Dances, 
though, according to the composer himself (in 
spite of Percy Grainger 's admiration especially 
for the first one), not one of them is representa- 
tive. We do not feel that any great degree of 
orchestral maturity had been achieved until about 
his thirtieth year, when Scott began to write such 
works as the Overture to Princess Maleine, the 
Aubade, the Rhapsody, the Christmas Overture 
and Nativity Hymn. True it is that three of 
these productions the Aubade, the Princess 



Maleine, and the Christmas Overture, were 
re workings of previous versions, but such a 
rewriting meant a complete transformation, 
and apart from certain of the most successful 
themes, the versions are hardly to be recognised. 
All three had already been performed in 
their original state by Sir Henry Wood, Sir 
Thomas Beecham and Mr. Landon Ronald ; but 
that did not prevent the composer from withhold- 
ing them from further performance. On the 
contrary, it stimulated him to rework them. It 
would be hard to say which is the happiest of 
these three works, for they are all so different in 
atmosphere. The Princess Maleine seems un- 
doubtedly to have achieved the mystic, pre-Ra- 
phaelite element of Maeterlinck's dramatic play. 
This work, it may also be mentioned, in spite of 
bearing the title "Overture," is as near to a 
"Symphonic Poem" as Scott has ever ap- 
proached. It is a drama in music archaic in 
parts, pictorial, tranquil at times, and wildly 
emotional at others there is a picturesque re- 
ligiosity about it ; and in its melodious portions, 
the cantilene sections are of unusual length. 
Whereas the a capella chorale at the end presents 
the quintessence of archaism in spite of a quite 
anacronistic use of the " 6-4 chord.' 


Scott owes the performance of this work in 
Vienna to Frau Gustav Mahler, who corres- 
ponded with him as the result of the perform- 
ance of his Violin Sonata with Professor Rose 
of the famous Rose Quartet, and her en- 
thusiasm respecting this work was so great that 
she waived all conventions and wrote to Scott, 
asking him to relate his history, aims and achieve- 
ments. The outcome of this was a journey to 
Vienna later on, when Frau Mahler, collecting 


all the musical and other celebrities of that artistic 
city, feted Scott and made arrangements for the 
performance of some of his work. The Overture 
had a great success, and arrangements were pend- 
ing for the production of the Nativity Hymn for 
large chorus and orchestra when war broke out, 
the MS. being stranded somewhere in the enemy 

But to return to our analysis. The Christmas 
Overture, as its title suggests, presents the at- 
mosphere of Yule-tide with the usual concomi- 
tants of that season, though with the less obvious 
idealism in addition. Beginning with a novel 
harmonization of the carol, Good King Wences- 
las, it proceeds with a joyous figure of chimes over 
an organ-point, finally bursting forth into bells 
of a more real order. This constitutes the 
introduction which after a little while subsides, 
and is followed by a theme of characteristic 
length and idealism, breaking off after a time for 
the exposition of a lively little folksong in dance- 
metre. The composer then juggles with the 
themes for a time, including snatches of Good 
King Wenceslas; until utilising his bell-figure 
for a great working-up, he gradually begins to in- 
terject See the Conquering Hero Comes, bringing 
the work (after a fugato) to a gigantic climax, 
with that well-known tune of Handel dressed in 


modern harmony. As to the Nativity Hymn 
intended to follow upon this introductory over- 
ture, the score not being available, we are com- 
pelled to omit any analysis. This is especially 
unfortunate, as the work in question has a magni- 
tude which outstretches all the other Scott works. 

We are in the same position respecting the 
Rhapsody, which Debussy regards with great ad- 
miration, having heard it in Paris. In this case, 
the score is in Petrograd awaiting performance. 

We now turn to the Aubade, Op. 77, written 
in 1911, which has been performed at Darm- 
stadt, Berlin, Dresden, and other cities. It is 
an exquisite tone-poem descriptive of the mood 
of a peaceful morning. With quite a light 
orchestra, the composer limns his moods with 
growing fervour. Most of the work is very sub- 
dued, as one might imagine, since the name Au- 
bade indicates a serenade of the morning ; a 
joyous strain wherewith to waken a beloved 
sleeper unto the day. The melodies are very long, 
and are suggestive of a restrained passion and 
yearning. The rhythm is not of that regularity 
which makes performance easy the conductor, 
in fact, has his task set, with the varying 5-8, 
4-8, 3-8, the logic of which device is apparent 
when long-drawn melodies are abundant. In 
form the piece may be regarded as one of gradual 


expansion and diminution, dying away to the 
little calm sad figure of the commencement. 

Amongst his very finest works are the Piano- 
forte Concerto (given at the London Festival of 
British Music in 1915) and the Two Passacaglias 
on Irish Themes for orchestra, which were first 
given by Beecham at the Royal Philharmonic 
Society's Concerts in 1916. These three pieces 
are in the composer's most advanced style. 

The Pianoforte Concerto was written in the 
winter of 1913 and the spring months of 1914. 
The idea of writing a modern concerto a la 
Tchaikovsky had never appealed to him; and 
when finally he was drawn to this form of music, 
the work appeared entirely on unconventional 
lines. In fact, he admits that until the idea of 
treating the Concerto on what he himself called 
''rather Bach-like lines" occurred to him, he 
had relinquished all hopes of ever writing one. 
Although his own description of it is ' ' Im- 
pressions of Bach, taken while on a supposed 
journey to China." Truth to tell, it is hardly 
like Bach at all. One might say the last 
movement is more like " Handel transported into 
the present generation." Performed with great 
success at Sir Thomas Beecham's 1914 British 
Music Season in London, with the composer at 
the piano, it seems up to the present to have 


shared the fate of so many of the finest works 
of British composers here ; for at the time of 
writing, this has been its only public perform- 
ance. The war has suspended negotiations for 
a performance in Russia. 

The work opens with a strong vibrant note on 
the orchestra, upon which the solo instrument 
immediately makes a majestic entry with some 
powerful chords. This is followed by a passage 
of great vigour. A rippling glissade of musical 
mosaics a veritable cascade of opals gives a 
strikingly opalescent touch, and the movement 
gets w r ell under way with a brilliant strong- 
ly marked theme on the piano. The slightly 
Chinese atmosphere which gives such a distinct 
perfume to the second subject, can be traced to 
the Chinese Songs (notably the Picnic) and also 
to the first Sonnet for violin and piano. 
Snatches of plaintive melodies now abound and 
the music scintillates with radiant hues. Space 
forbids me to describe the many beauties and 
masterly touches, but the remarkable intensity 
of the melody for solo viola arid oboe forms a 
prominent feature. The brilliance of the piano- 
forte part, particularly in this movement, has to 
my mind never been equalled in the whole range 
of concertos hitherto. An atmosphere of mystic 
meditation rests over the whole of the slow move- 


ment, and the themes appear in light relief over 
a continuous bourdon of distant evanescent bell- 
tones. It is a profound twilight meditation, into 
which tender flute-like melodies gently insinuate 
themselves. The movement dies away in soft 
soothing harmonies, a few stray resonances 
lingering (as though loth to depart) before the 
whole is gently wafted away. 

The utmost brilliancy is the leading note of 
the Finale, the whole movement being perme- 
ated with a joyous vitality and bustling good 
humour. The texture glows with gorgeous 
hues, and bell- tones form a rich back-ground. 
There is a wonderful verve about the movement, 
which is charmingly orchestrated by a thorough 
master of orchestral colouring. Celesta, 
Campanella, Harp and Piano are all requis- 
itioned in combination, to add to the brilliancy 
of this scintillating movement. Towards the 
end a gossamer-like veil of tone is as it were 
drawn over the vivacious leaping subject, which 
then broadens out gradually into the majestic 
harmony of the opening of the Concerto. The 
theme of the slow second movement reappears, 
only to expand into the return of the powerful 
motive, and the work ends in the most brilliant 
manner possible, with a clash of percussion on a 
majestic chord. 


This work will certainly come to occupy a 
high place amongst Pianoforte Concertos. It pos- 
sesses amazing originality from beginning to end. 
The themes are masterly, the orchestration ex- 
quisite, and the form splendidly balanced. The 
first and last movements are cast on the usual 
Sonata lines. But how wonderfully modern is 
the expression and emotion of this piece, and 
with what gorgeous raiment has the composer 
clothed the whole ! Hide-bound pedants, w r ho 
have heard little of Cyril Scott's music, frequent- 
ly say that it is too restless in tonality. To my 
mind, if there be one flaw in this Concerto, it is, 
if anything, too tenacious of the key-note. With 
its tender confidences, one feels one would like 
the slow movement to go on longer, and for 
this perhaps a slight detour to some other tonic 
would be welcome. Here, Cyril Scott's music 
is comparable to no other. There is nothing of 
Debussy here, nothing of Strauss ; it is the com- 
poser himself. In the last movement for four 
bars only there is a very striking co-incidence 
with a favourite mood of Scriabin. But Cyril 
Scott at the time of writing knew nothing of 
Scriabin, and the momentary co-incidence is only 
interesting to a keen student of both composers. 



The Two Passacaglias, notwithstanding their 
brevity, are undoubtedly the composer's high- 
est orchestral achievements. There he would 
seem to have drained the orchestra of every 
possibility, and the result is remarkable and 
most impressive. The two airs used are the 
Irish Famine Song, that deeply sad lament al- 
most heartrending in its intensity, and the Poor 
Irish Boy, which one gathers was originally a sad 
and sedate melody, but which Scott has used in 


rapid tempo and produced a piece of feet-quick- 
ening vivacity, almost amounting to riotousness. 
The Famine Song begins very modestly, given 
out in octaves on the double basses ; then the time 
is transferred to the middle register and clothed 
in some of the best progressions Cyril Scott has 
ever written. 

If we scrutinize the musical quotation closely, 
we discover that, although the melody may be 
in a key itself, the tout ensemble gives the idea 
of no tonality, or else a very elusive one. Nearly 
every chord is in a different scale ; the first chord 
being in C ; the second in E minor ; the third in 
A flat major ; the fourth, E minor ; the fifth, C 
again; then E flat, and again C, and so on. 
Nevertheless, in one sense the whole phrase is in 
D minor, for should one place a cadence at its 
close, it could not well be the Tonic of C, but 
of D minor or else G major. The passacaglias 
are full of such harmonic problems, in fact. As 
to the form, a passacaglia is so simple (the tune 
being in one part or another throughout the 
whole work) that little need be said ; but certainly 
the composer has used every harmonic, contra- 
puntal and orchestral device to lend variety to his 
subject. The organ is employed in the finish- 
ing climax with as grandiose and overwhelming 
effect as in Scriabin's Prometheus, the volume 


of sound being so great, some one said, as to 
become tearfully affecting. 

The Passacaglia No. II presents a strong con- 
trast. Here the composer uses every species of 
percussive instrument, including a grand piano. 
The score consists of about 42 staves, and as the 
result sounds are produced which have never 
been heard before. Certainly both Cyril Scott 
and Percy Grainger have exhibited the aug- 
mented possibilities of the Passacaglia and 
brought this old form into favour once again. 
Whether others will readily follow in their foot- 
steps remains to be seen. 

Finally we turn to Cyril Scott's latest choral 
work his setting of Keat's renowned Ballad, 
La belle Dame sans Merci. The Cantata was 
originally written for Soprano and Baritone solos 
and orchestra some eight years ago. The com- 
poser, later on, came to regard the work as some- 
what immature, although many portions of it 
still appealed to him ; so in the winter of 1915-16 
the idea of turning it into a choral work struck 
him and he could thus realize the possibility of ad- 
ding much more colour to the beauty of Keat's 
poem. Certainly the result has been extremely 
happy, for there were many strings on Keat's 
lute which found a ready sympathetic resonance 
in the heart of Cyril Scott, who has a strong af- 


finity with this poet. The work is replete with a 
certain archaic mysticism, and the atmosphere of 
"the cold hill-side" is strongly emphasized by 
his music. There is a feeling of intense desola- 






L 1 1 r 


# j j ^ 


rn n 

1 . 


-J . \ 

tion and sadness about the whole cantata, and 
even in its gayer passages there remains an under- 
tone of tragedy. 

The chorus gives the sensation of a great moan- 
ing. Novel effects of choral writing have here 



been presented notably the altos divided in con- 
secutive seconds, the gruff ness of which proced- 
ure being considerably mollified by the rest of 
the harmony appearing on the orchestra. 

Passages in chromatic major thirds seem to 
suggest the soughing of the wind over bleak 

and the music ends with a note of utter deso- 


As to other orchestral works there are 
several which we may mention to show that 
Scott was never orchestrally idle ; but we 
must add he has withdrawn them all, and thus 
they have no practical value now ; although they 
have helped to make his name, and found favour 
in the eyes of no less a conductor than Hans Rich- 
ter. The two Symphonies have already been 
mentioned. There was also a large Magnificat 
for chorus, soli, and orchestra. Then followed 
the Heroic Suite performed by Richter in Man- 
chester and Liverpool. After which came the 
Idyllic Suite, the Overture to Pelleas and Meli- 
sande, a Pianoforte Concerto in D, the Second 
Overture to Pelleas and Melisande, the Overture 
to Aglavaine and Selysette, an Arabesque, and 
the Two Rhapsodies for Orchestra. Not all of 
these works were performed, for the Magnificat, 
the First Piano Concerto, and Overture to Agla- 
vaine and Selysette never entered the concert 
hall, nor did the Second Rhapsody. The other 
works, however, have been performed in Lon- 
don, Bournemouth, Bath, Birmingham, Frank- 
fort, and other places. 

It will be seen that Cyril Scott is always very 
critical of his own productions. Unlike Strauss, 
he will not suffer performances of things which 
he knows to be immature and unworthy. " They 


were good exercises," he remarks, "and I 
amused myself by writing them, but I certainly 
never wish to hear them, and would spare others 
doing so as well." 


1 $ * . , ,, ... n 

Facsimile of Cyril Scott's Handwriting, 1916, 

(Rough sketch of an unpublished work). 




THE smallness of the number of Scott's contri- 
butions to Chamber-music is amply atoned for 
by their intrinsic value and fine quality ; and chief 
among them stands' the Quintet for Piano and 
Strings. In this domain we are confronted once 
more with the composer's critical, even hyper- 
critical attitude towards his own works. For 
of the many things he has produced, only the 
Quintet and the Violin Sonata (which, owing to 
its magnitude and importance, must come under 
this heading) remain as valid in the composer's 
estimation. Indeed, he would withdraw the 
Pianoforte Quartet in E minor were it not 
published and so safely outside the dangers 
of his fire-place. In short, Scott has been very 
active in chamber-music production, but equally 
active in his policy of destruction. There have 



been a Pianoforte Trio, two String Quartets, a 
Pianoforte Quintet (written at the age of 
twenty-one), a Violin Sonata (written soon after- 
wards), and then the Piano Quartet. 1 None of 
these, however, save the last, are extant, even the 
Quartet played so much on the Continent being 
laid aside for a reworking. 

The Quintet, written in 1911-12, was originally 
a sextet which the composer conceived at the age 
of twenty-five ; but as it struck him, later on, thai- 
parts of it were inadequate, he bethought him 
to take its best portions and convert it into a 
Quintet. The lovely opening melody of the 
first movement breathes an exquisite ideality, 
and is not without an undercurrent of longing for 
further exultation. Those who have but a super- 
ficial acquaintance with Cyril Scott's works, and 
those others who charge the composer with a 
lack of melodiousness, should here note this won- 
derfully long-breathed melody which sings on 
for not less than 41 bars without any feeling of a 
break. Easements of melodic tension there are, 
but they merely serve as poises for a further 
flight. It is significant that such a long thread 
of melodic invention can only be sustained by the 
use of irregular measures 4-8, 5-8, 4-4, and so 

1 Boosey & Co 


on. A short episode which foreshadows the 
second theme of the final section (7-8 time), here 
given by the strings only, is wistful and longing, 
and works up to the Free Fantasia portion, which 
is consummated in an enormous climax just be- 
fore the return of the opening theme. The 
second theme on its final appearance is accom- 
panied by a high pendulous counter-melody on 
the violin. The last echo of this theme is gradu- 
ally accelerated until, quite naturally and without 
a break of any kind, it has become transformed 
to the Allegro grazioso ma non troppo of the 
second movement. 

It has been stated that the music of Cyril Scott 
is lacking in form ; on the contrary, the construc- 
tion and design, in his larger works particularly, 
is exceedingly fine, well balanced, logical, and 
satisfying. The whole of the Quintet is one 
continuous piece, although according very closely 
to so-called Sonata form considerably elaborated. 
The idea of the four movements of the so-called 
classical Sonata which have little or hardly any 
connection with one another, does indeed seem 
to leave something lacking and certainly is not 
very logical. So it may be noted that in all Cyril 
Scott's works written in Sonata form, he intro- 
duces an echo or recapitulation, in some manner 


or other, of all the previous chief themes, into 
the development section of the final movement. 
This device may set the pattern for the Sonata 
form of the future, just as Beethoven when con- 
necting the first and second themes of his first 
movement in contra-distinction to Mozart, set 
the pattern for the sonata-form for his successors. 

The second movement is flavoured with a 
remote gaiety, and the muted instruments em- 
phasize and intensify the feeling that the exult- 
ation is on some other plane than the purely 
physical one. After some time, a new melody 
of a singing character enters on the viola (now 
unmuted). On the return of the first gay theme, 
the piano has a subject of that sparkling, scintil- 
lating nature which is characteristic of Cyril 
Scott in his gayer moods. This section gradu- 
ally transforms the joyful theme in a \vonderf ul 
way into the leading subject of the slow move- 
ment, a piece of fervent intensity. The first 
seven-bar phrase, given out in similar motion by 
the strings alone, is given on the next page. 

One of the most moving passages in the 
Quintet follows. The 'cello has a melody in its 
most penetrating register and is followed by the 
violin with even greater intensity, the theme be- 
ing finally taken up and carried on to the whole 


r<2 moltojonommente 




of the strings. A new theme enters and yet not 
entirely new, for there is a subtle feeling of its 
having been evolved and therefore become in- 
evitable. Moreover, in this exalted mood 
we rarely get anything like a definite ca- 
dence. The music surges, streams, or bubbles 
with an endless sort of rhythm as of the 
sea. Sustained power of thought, and length 
of melodic line, are after all the great tests of a 
composer's worth. Now an unexpected little 
intermezzo comes breaking forth and dances 



along uninterruptedly until the original theme 
begins to insinuate itself, at first very subtly, but 
finally gaining such power that the figure of the 
Intermezzo is completely ousted. The whole of 
the beautiful chromatic passage recurs here 
and mounts up to a climax which only gradually 
subsides to emerge in the Finale. 

This is an Allegro con molto spirito, almost 
impossible to describe in words, opening in the 
following manner : 

con molfo spirito 


The second subject, in a mood of high ecstasy 
on the violin, has that soaring, seething richness 
of Strauss in feeling, but different in texture. 
Another theme now enters, the first indication of 
which occurred towards the end of the second 
theme of the Scherzo movement. Then comes 
a rapid marshalling of all the chief themes of the 
Quintet, which brings the work to a culmination 
of exceeding majesty and brilliancy. The Coda 
ends with a long ringing note of majestic tri- 

In his Violin Sonata, the most difficult and 
modern of all works for this combination of in- 
struments (barring, perhaps, Ornstein's), the 
composer has, contrary to his usual custom, di- 
vided the music into four definite movements. 
The last movement, however, brings in a re- 
capitulation of the themes of all the previous 
movements. The number of lovely cantabile 
melodies gives the work a certain peaceful 
charm, a restful feeling which recalls Cesar 
Franck in some of his moods. But there is far 
more action in this music of Cyril Scott than in 
any work of the French composer, the constantly 
shifting harmonies giving a sense of activity 
which music, of an earlier period fails to do, at 
any rate now that the dust of a few years has des- 
cended upon it. The opening theme is of a re- 


markable energy, full of almost violent rhythm 
comprised with an emphatic harmony. The 
composer is here hitting straight from the shoul- 
der, just as Frank Brangwyn does in his decora- 
tive pictures. Although some people style Cyril 
Scott precieux, his larger works are replete with 
a vigour as remote from all " preciousness " as 
it is possible to imagine. 

The form of the first movement of this Sonata 
is so closely welded that theme passes into theme, 
and development into development, without any 
possible break. This might lead one to sup- 
pose that there is an element of monotony in the 
music ; but it is not so, t for there are periods of 
restfulness which suggest a pause without any 
sense of break in thought, or in harmonic flow. 
As to the coda, its power and majesty seem 
almost overwhelming, while the only musi- 
cal analogy to such superb richness of pianoforte 
scoring is the wealth of orchestration to be found 
in the later operas of Richard Strauss. Someone 
has likened the third movement, which may be 
called a Scherzo, to the playfulness of monkeys 
in a tropical forest, and certainly it affords the 
strongest possible contrast to the exotic melan- 
choly of the second movement. From the Scher- 
zando point of view, this is something entirely 
new, owing to the constant change of rhythm 


and the mixture of song and dance elements, stri- 
dent exclamations jostling freely against poetical 
phrases truly a veritable medley of moods. The 
finale has a dual significance. Whilst its proper 
themes rise easily to the high level of the pre- 
ceding lyricism, it also serves as an arena for all 
the subjects from the other movements. Near 
the end there is a Fugato which attains its full 
climactic power in the introduction of the theme 
of the second movement. 

The list of first-class modern Sonatas for the 
violin and piano is certainly circumscribed, and 
this contribution of Cyril Scott therefore should 
be doubly welcome to concert artists of the first 
rank. My one criticism is that the evolution of 
musical form tends to render the re-statement of 
themes at any length in the recapitulatory sec- 
tions unnecessary. Why repeat anything at all 
when one's memory carries it in mind? Still, 
perhaps this reflection is somewhat unnecessary 
with regard to Scott, since many find his music 
not always easy to follow, and his themes 
too far removed from the obvious to dispense 
entirely with the necessity for recapitulation. 




I AM inclined to think that it is largely owing to 
what Cyril Scott has called "the strange musical 
constitution of England " that he composes so 
many pieces in smaller forms, especially piano 
pieces and songs. The difficulty of publishing 
larger dimensional works in this country is 
considerable. I believe that if this were 
otherwise we should find Cyril Scott known 
in Great Britain far less as a specialist for the 
piano and voice, than as a composer of very 
fine chamber music and orchestral works. In- 
deed, should things ever change in this country, 
as far as musical appreciation (and hence pub- 
lishing) is concerned, I believe the output of 
Scott's smaller works would become less and 

For some reason or other, difficult to divine, 
Cyril Scott's best works for the piano are not 

7 1 


those best known ; and I know that I must face 
the tribunal of public opinion in choosing the 
pieces for mention in this chapter. I would 
suggest to those, who may feel a little aggrieved 
at not finding the names of many piano pieces 
which are their favourites, that it is better to 
learn of something new than to be told of what 
we already know. 

Two of the most interesting sets of pianoforte 
pieces are the cycle called Egypt and the 
set of Five Impressions from the Jungle Book. 
The Egyptian cycle is widely differentiated 
in style from that of the Jungle Book Im- 
pressions, although it is difficult to describe the 
difference in words. Whilst he has realised in 
the Jungle the Indian atmosphere in a degree 
never before attained, the Egpytian suite is en- 
veloped in a much deeper mysticism. 

The first number of Egypt, called In the 
Temple of Memphis, opens with slow, mysterious, 
insinuating figures, suggestive of double flutes. 
The music increases in eloquence, expression and 
sonority, the underlined major thirds giving a 
pleasant, reedy and pastoral feeling, whilst 
the whole-tone steps impart an indefinable 
weirdness. The piece reaches a majestic climax 
of the utmost force, the wind instruments, as it 
were, veritably shrieking out their shrill, sharp 


skirl. The climax gradually relapses into almost 
complete inertness, whilst the little opening fig- 
ure is gently breathed forth in low flute-like tones. 
The second piece opens with a simple tran- 
quil scale passage in whole-tones, alternating 
throughout with the quasi bustling figures in 
"broken fourths" and sixths, which constitute 
the real material of the movement. At first 
sight the impressionistic sketch, By the Waters 
of the Nile, looks as though it were closely related 
to the " Chinese chop-sticks " figures of the Con- 
certo and other pieces, but the sound and feeling 
of these fourths is quite distinct, the lower har- 
mony here adding a strong quality of Eastern 
mysticism. The slightly accentuated episode 
in the middle affords the only instance in the 
whole of Cyril Scott's music, where the realism 
to my mind seems pushed to a crude and barbar- 
ous stage. But it is probable that the composer in- 
tended this effect, since he insists on it again later 
on. Such a complaint certainly cannot be made 
with regard to the exquisite and suave Egyptian 
Boat Song, the slow languidity of which seems 
full of lotus-land charm. The simple little theme 
of five notes gives birth to the whole piece ; from 
it springs a melody of long delicious curve, under- 
lined in major thirds throughout. The music 
is wonderfully vivid ; mirages of distant mosques, 


roseate with a luminous haze, rise before the 
eyes. The rocking of the darghah is always 
present and the slow plaint of the flutes com- 
pletes the warm, languorous picture. 

The Funeral March of the Great Raamses is 
richly informed with highly-coloured pageantry ; 
the continually-changing tonalities, like moving 
colours in a kaleidoscope, conjure up a pic- 
ture of some sumptuous procession, painted 
in flaming colours which run into one another 
almost to the point of blurring. But a majestic 
change of "key-colour" with an emphatic, 
trumpet-like passage, reminds us that this was 
one great among the kings of the earth. The 
Funeral procession gradually passes from sight 
and hearing. 

I have played through Song of the Spirits of 
the Nile, the final piece in the set, but I cannot 
find any meaning in it. It appears to me nothing 
but a piece of exaggerated mannerism ; the idea 
in the composer's mind does not "get over the 
footlights." But it is quite likely if one pos- 
sessed the clue to it, that it would appear differ- 
ently. Certainly this set Egypt is more subtle 
than any other music of Scott. The spirit of 
pageantry, the love of strong colours, and the 
cunning charm of Egypt lies drowsily over all 
this music. 


The Jungle opens with a slow, mysterious 
melody of low pitch poised over an incessantly 
bourdonning pedal-figure. This suggests that 
dull, continuous, murmuring note, which is 
the subtle, never silent bourdon of the jungle. 
Over it, the melody slowly and subtly de- 
velops in ever-extending curves, only broken into 
occasionally by a shrill motive : the chatter of a 
monkey or the scream of a parroquet. The 
main melody moves majestically on, at length 
fading away as subtly as it was evolved. 

Dawn, a lyric movement, opens with a skirl 
on some reed-like instrument. The melody de- 
velops with a pastoral feeling and with that 
strange curvilinear melodic style which the com- 
poser shares with Debussy alone. 

In the third impression, Rikki-tikki-tavi, 
the composer is obviously aiming at a very defin- 
ite picture of the fight between Kipling's 
little mongoose and the maliciously-minded 
snake. The conflict waxes severe and the deft, 
darting movements of the two animals fighting 
to the death are admirably portrayed. A strik- 
ing change occurs in the music at the part marked 
"lovingly," when Rikki-tikki-tavi is received 
joyfully back into the bosom of the white 
man's family. But all this is not marked in the 


music, for the composer assumes that everyone 
knows this Kipling story well. 

The harmonic colouring is frequently of that 
lithographic vividness which one associates with 
the sunshine and the glaring skies of the East* 
The movements of the snake are astoundingly 
real, and this reminds me of a story which I re- 
ceived at first hand from the pianist concerned. 

When in Jamaica he was playing the Eikki- 
tikki-tavi and the Snake piece one Sunday 
afternoon in his verandah room, when his 
wife came in and quietly asked him to continue 
playing and to look round. He did so, and saw 
a live snake gyrating in graceful folds in time 
\vith the music, which it was enjoying thor- 

In the Dance of the Elephants, the weirdness 
of Kipling's story is intensified and rendered 
none the less captivating. The left hand is di- 
rected to be played always a little louder than the 
right, and these low, heavy fifths convey admir- 
ably the impression of the clumsily padding hoofs 
of the beasts holding their nocturnal festival, at- 
tempting to be graceful in the depth of the forest. 
A perverse sort of whole-tone scale winds up 
this vivid set of pieces, in which pathos, pictur- 
esqueness, poetry and a certain impishness are 


Even the more perceptive members of the pub- 
lic are a little loth to accept a man equally favour- 
ably in a dual role. In one of the very best sets 
of pianoforte pieces Poems it is difficult to 
say whether Cyril Scott's creations in verse, or 
the reproduction of the soul-states in music, reach 
the higher level. Such a set will only yield up 
its secret to the most sensitive temperaments; 
but to them, these five poems are amongst the 
most highly-prized pieces by this composer. A 
poem preceded each piece, and it is an interesting 


occupation to decide whether the poetry or the 
music achieves the mood with the greater deli- 
cacy and the surer touch. 

Poppies is a languid Lento, full of deep ex- 
pression and founded on chords of broken 
fourths, played una corda. Little flute-like 
melodies of a strikingly characteristic curvilinear 
character intervene at intervals. A slight ripple 
of increased emotion occurs in the middle, and 
the song ends with the merest waft of colour on 
the swaying breeze. In The Garden of Soul-Sym- 
pathy, which is perhaps still more elusive, the 
composer rhapsodises "in soul-knit gladness," 
and harmonious visions of wondrous colour move 
majestically over the ear. A bell-like interlude, 
which occurs in the middle, suggests the pale 
sound of distant bells floating across the valley to 
this secret garden cloister. 

To anyone who wants the difference in har- 
monic method between the older and the newer 
schools explained to him in a few words, I would 
recommend the study of the harmonic basis of 
this piece ; although I think it would not do to 
let the composer discover you at such cold- 
blooded musical anatysis. Like Debussy, he 
would protest against the dissection of his music, 
as if it were a piece of curious clockwork mechan- 
ism. In the Revue Blanche in 1891 the French 


master wrote, " As children we were taught to 
regard the dismemberment of our play-things 
and toys as a crime of high treason, but these 
older children still persist in poking their noses 
where they are not wanted, endeavouring to ex- 
plain and dissect everything in a cold-blooded 
way, thus putting an end to all mystery." 

One of the most interesting of the piano 
pieces from the harmonic point of view is the 
third number of this set, entitled Bells. It is pre- 
ceded by a quotation from Cyril Scott's Book 
of Mournful Melodies. The piece adopts the 
note "A" as the tonal centre and a certain minor 
colouring is sustained throughout. An inces- 
sant bell-figure in sixths, with a curious perverse 
sort of false relation between the F sharp and the 
F natural, chimes incessantly. Under this, rich 
and trombonelike chords are sustained, and the 
melody sings in the horn register of the piano. 
The piece reaches a climax of brilliant scintilla- 
tion in the E major episode, after which it dies 
away gradually. 


Sounds of colourless dreams, of strange visionary vague- 
ness telling: 

Immaculate music, heralding the life of sighs, 
Bells across the lone lassitude, rising, rolling, endlessly 


Over the wasteland solitude lost in the clear chaotic 


Edgar Allan Poe in twentieth-century dress, 
you say! Yes perhaps. 

6 I love Scott's music," said someone to me 
one day, " but I am absolutely stumped by the 
glissandos, especially those up and down the 
black keys in Lotus Land and in the Twilight 
of the Year. Can he do them himself?" 
"Oh, yes; I have heard him race up and down 
the piano thus, chuckling with delight ; I have 
also heard York-Bo wen doing glissandi in double 
octaves up and down the piano, but I believe that 
both of them receive slight finger contusions at 
times. I cannot do them myself, so I am unable 
to give my readers the knack which I am told is all 
that is required, given an amenable touch on the 
piano. In Twilight of the Year (No. 4 of the 
Poems) we have the delicate antiqueness of Bull 
and Byrde served up in modern dress, and I am 
sure the glissando \vould be easier on one of the 
old virginals. In this piece, to use the com- 
poser's own words, 4 the heart returns to stanzas 
steeped in woe.' ' 

Now, deeply throbbing sighs escape the muted viol, 
When across the meadows wander tired herds : 

We sink, entwined no longer can we read the sunless 

And e'en the wasted willows whisper weary words. 


Nothing more intimate has ever been written 
in music. Nevertheless, I can imagine that the 
vividness of the Paradise-Birds will appeal to 
more players. Their fragrant notes are indeed 
garnished with beauteous colours in the marvel- 
lous little arabesques. The mystic trees and sa- 
cred bowers do indeed 4 6 resplendent shine with 
the eternal sunset's light" in the resounding 
chords and rolling arpeggios, symbolic of the 
mingling of all faded human joys in one ; but the 
piece ends with a " strong aspiring, freed from 
the sense of separateness and a gladness born of 
lost delights returning." In this set of Poems, in 
Egypt and in the Jungle Book we have a contri- 
bution fit to rank with the rhapsodies of Liszt, 
the dances of Chopin, the sonatas of Brahms and 
aubades of Scriabin. 

One of the most attractive of the short pieces 
is the Sphinx. It opens with several short 
phrases, every bar a harmonic question ; the mood 
alternating between this and a lyric passage. 
A meditative alto melody supplies contrast. It 
has a strange feeling of Eastern incantation 
about it; something like a triumphant solu- 
tion seems to occur at the climax, but the mys- 
terious incantation and all the old questions 
return afresh. The piece ends with a satisfying 


major chord. There is a suggestion of a plain- 
tive bassoon hidden among swaying rushes, 
piping a melancholy under-melody in a strange 
admixture of major and minor key, an admixture 
which produces far more plaintiveness than if the 
phrase were in the minor throughout. 

Curiously enough that most diatonic of com- 
posers, George Frederick Handel, has exer- 
cised a certain influence at times on this 
modern English composer, and it was a happy 
thought of Percy Grainger to urge Cyril Scott 
to curtail his original piano Sonata No. 1 a work 
which he had discarded as immature and permit 
it to come forth under Grainger 's editorship as 
the Handelian Rhapsody, Op. 17. One won- 
ders what Handel himself would have said to 
such rhapsodization. Still Handel was much 
wider in his ideas than many even of his greatest 
admirers imagine. 

The Prelude Solennelle is one of the finest of 
the piano pieces. Its free rhythm, far from 
detracting from its dignity, deepens the vein 
of serious feeling which pervades the piece. 
Written mainly in robust chords, there are many 
moving passages of awe, wonderment, and re- 
ligious calm, but the joyful mood predominates 
and the piece ends after a glittering cadenza of 


the utmost scintillation. Wagner's influence 
comes to the surface in parts, but the piece is aji 
admirable example of the way Scott can take a 
short theme and entirely evolve a whole piece 
from it, unfailing in variety and gripping in 

If asked to mention a piece which gives that 
soft freshness of early morning when nature 
seems to take on a new and virginal beauty a 
favourite mood of the composer I should quote 



the Cavatina written in 1915. In this lovely 
Andante we get the quintessence of pianoforte 

The constantly changing bar-times fail to dis- 
turb its calm because there is above them a wider 
sense of rhythm, an undisturbed flow of melody : 
logical sequence lies subtly concealed under these 
graceful curves ; harmonic subtlety abounds. 
Take for instance the last chord of the bridge 
leading to the return 


or the following delicate dallying over the en- 
harmonic hiatuses. 

The bell-like chords at the Piu mosso are very 
arresting, and the manner of returning to the 
first theme is exceedingly poetical. 

The Diatonic Study, a favourite with organ- 
ists, has a diatonic melody, delicate in curve, 


rippling away happily over a gently rocking bass, 
like little wavelets over a shii:gly shore. Tran- 
quillity and strength of melodious curve are the 
prevailing features. Only once is there a per- 
ceptible break, just before the reprise. If the 
tune be diatonic, there is a plenitude of harmon- 
ic interest. Indeed some people regard the novel 
harmonies (or is it the scales?) as unpleasantly 
creaking, a distasteful vagary of this wayward 
composer. The waywardness is to my ear very 
charming. Concerning matters of taste, non 
disputandum est. Be that as it may, I feel sure 
that the ending sets even the most stubborn of 
these dissenters chuckling with delight. 

For sinuous curves of melody and romantic 
Western colour, the second of the two pieces, 
Over the Prairie, stands very high amongst musi- 
cal miniatures. The inner melody of the left 
hand can bring out a positively uncanny eeriness. 

The organ-like richness of harmony in the ma- 
jestic chords of the Ode Hero'ique is difficult to 
excel. A bell-like episode turns to a mood of 
gentle lyricism ; but some sterner chords bring 
in an array of richly connected harmonies lead- 
ing to a majestic restatement of the opening 
theme. There is something of the grandeur of 
the sea here, and, in this regard, there is a curious 


connection between the penultimate bar of this 
piece and the opening chords of Schubert's 
famous song, Das Meer. 




THE Pianoforte Sonata, written in the sum- 
mer of 1908, affords an altogether new piano 
technique. The difficulties are so enormous 
that only artists of the first rank would care 
to tackle it. This Sonata has no tonality. 
It opens in a restless, vigorous mood, but the 
second subject gives tranquility, not altogether 
devoid of a certain wistful, yearning feeling. 
The passages of sixths over shifting tonalities are 
very striking. This second theme gradually un- 
folds and expands until it reaches climaxes of 
prodigious power and of the utmost brilliancy. 
Then we have some modifications of the first 
subject after which comes a development section 
where the themes are treated with masterly 
skill. In the recapitulation, the first theme pro- 
ceeds straight into the second without preamble. 



A decided pause is reached but it merely forms 
a hovering point which has no real cadential 
effect ; and we pass into the slow movement 
without break. This lovely section opens with 
eighteen bars of sustained melody, grand and 
dignified in mood, richly clothed in striking har- 
monies. An episode follows leading into the 
second theme which vies with the first for the 
palm of beauty. Melodiously tranquil and soul- 
fully happy, it develops in canonic fashion. 
After this the opening grandeur of the first sub- 
ject on its return is rendered even more striking. 
Most composers would have broken the music 
there after so lovely a song, but this is not Scott's 
method. As the slow movement gradually sub- 
sides, little suggestions of the coming Scherzo 
insinuate themselves in a species of short Fan- 
tasia which finally emerges into the Scherzo 

To my mind, this is the most original and 
characteristic of all Cyril Scott's moods, and the 
only composer who approaches anywhere near 
him in this vein is Alexander Scriabin. It seems 
to me that there is here achieved in music an 
adumbration of that phenomenon which Car- 
penter calls Cosmic Consciousness. It may be 
traced psychologically I think from the ex- 


hilarating effect which Beethoven and Mahler 
occasionally secured in their codas. But Scott 
carries it to a higher power. This Scherzo is a 
wild, mad happy dance, but it is a terpsichorean 
expression on some higher plane than the physi- 
cal. It has the same molecular atmospheric fes- 
tive feeling which we feel in Debussy's Fetes. 
Waywardness and exuberance there are also in 
the opening subject, the second theme giving a 
plaintive contrast to the previous exuberance of 
spirit. We then return to the original mood, 
and the music dances happily along until we reach 
the recapitulation of a very majestic phrase from 
the first movement. Again there is a free fan- 
tasia portion which embraces almost all the pre- 
ceding themes in a tranquilized form, the whole 
gently subsiding, previous to the introduction of 
the Fugue, a veritable tour de force which car- 
ries the music along to the greatest climax of 
the whole Sonata. This is probably the first 
fugue ever written in the absence of regular 
rhythm, and is based on two subjects 


tro con^pirifo. 

the second being derived from the second theme 
of the first movement ; 


We have in this Sonata one of the finest piano 
works on the large scale, representing a com- 
pletely logical cycle of moods, and replete with 


beauty and with ornamental device of every kind. 
Sooner or later so superb a work must become 
a regular item in the repertoire of all pianists of 
the first rank. 

One of the chief characteristics of the Sonata 
is its complete freedom of rhythm. The chang- 
ing bar-times, however, produce no feeling of 
restlessness in the music, but only invest it with 
the eloquence of a fine discourse ; and it may be 
added that on its first performance not one critic 
was sensible of its rhythmic irregularities. 

Amongst the longer cyclic works, the Second 
Suite Opus 75 deservedly takes a high place. It 
is in five movements, the last being a well-devel- 
oped fugue. The work is dedicated to Claude 
Debussy, who was much impressed with it. He 
writes, " Cyril Scott is one of the rarest artists 
of the present generation," a striking testi- 
mony from one of the greatest musical epicures. 
But Debussy is not the only great contemporary 
who admires him, for Percy Grainger has a 
whole-hearted admiration for Scott's music, 
which he has carried even to the extent of a re- 
vision of some of the earlier works, which would 
not have been published otherwise. 

To return. This suite is an eminently successful 
example of the way in which Scott can infuse new 
colour and fresh emotion into the old moulds. 


The Prelude, the Air Varied, the Solemn Dance, 
the Caprice, the Introduction and Fugue, are all 
forms bearing the halo of antiquity. Yet the 
guises here are new enough in all truth. The 
Prelude is a gently swaying lyric whose impres- 
sion of freedom is secured by alternating time- 
signatures. Exquisitely poetic passages present 
a picture of most idyllic emotion. 

The unusual nature of the theme for the varia- 
tions strikes one as remarkable. It opens thus : 

iJlndante soztenuto 


For the first variation, the theme is taken into 
an inner part, but the word "variation" must 
not be taken too literally. We see here in these 
variations successive transformations, distillations 
of the emotional germ, rather than the actual 
outline of the theme, which nevertheless is always 
present in an increasingly subtle form. After 
varied presentments Piu mosso, Allegro, An- 
dante, Molto scherzando the piece ends with a 
soft repetition of the theme in its original form. 
It is thus that I like all sets of variations to end. 
These variations are more in the manner of, 
though entirely different in matter from those 
of Brahms, Reger and Elgar ; things of the spirit 
rather than of the letter ; or as the composer 
himself might put it, the same soul in suc- 
cessive bodies. Those who expect something 
of the style of Maurice Ravel's stately Pavane in 
the Solemn Dance of this Suite will be disap- 
pointed. The atmosphere is that of the old- 
fashioned Minuet, but with a difference. There 
is all the old world grace without any of the stiff- 
ness of the 17th century. A Watteau-like pic- 
ture in music on freer lines (in 7-8 time, 5-8 and 
10-8 and what not), everything is richly filled 
in ; there are no thin places. The caprice, also in 
free time, is in reality a Scherzando ; there are 
passages of remarkable brilliancy and of rich 


harmonic colouring. Whilst for the second two 
movements the composer adopts a fixed key-note 
(E) and for the Solemn Dance (C or G), for the 
Caprice he abandons any tonal centre whatsoever 
and ends with an E flat chord. The Introduction 
and Fugue is in a style fit to raise the hair of the 
musical pundits. What think you of the follow- 
subject for a Fugue ? 

It certainly does not look promising from the 
point of view to which many of us are accustomed. 
It has, by the way, a curious relationship with the 
theme for variations already mentioned. Never- 
theless Cyril Scott has developed one of his finest 
compositions (of about 200 bars in length) filled 
with all kinds of beauty, harmonic and contrapun- 
tal. The first movement began with C as a 
centre. The impressive coda to the Fugue ends 
with a B flat chord, while the Introduction 


begins in B. I am inclined to think the key of the 
Fugue subject is really E flat, the answer enter- 
ing on B flat. With Scott's music the ear is the 
only arbiter, the notation being often merely acci- 

This Suite was remarkably well received in 
Paris on its first performance, the composer him- 
self being at the key-board. 




IT is a custom of the day to write songs as a 
species of recitative (witness Debussy, Ravel 
and others). Scott's teacher, Ivan Knorr, 
used to say that such were not specially 
songs at all in the most accurate sense of the 
word. Brahms and Schumann wrote real 
songs that is, melody in the voice, and 
so does Scott. In French, a synonym for 
song is melodic, and to write such real melo- 
dies is, I think, far more difficult than to produce 
the recitative class of song, because the melody 
has either to be more or less original, or through 
new harmony, to produce an original effect. 
Undoubtedly Cyril Scott's effects are produced 
through the harmonies a little part-writing in 
addition. From the large number of his 
songs I select the following for brief men- 
tion : Ma Mie (A last word) is one of the best 



of the early period, whilst My Captain and 
the Blackbird's Song are apparently the most 
popular. For the songs of the second period I 
would specially mention Mirage with its sooth- 
ing, magnetic beauty, the restful, lovely My 
Lady sleeps, the virile A Song of Wine, and 
the entrancing White Knight (with its pictorial 
suggestion of the galloping of horses), not to 
omit one of the best of all his inspirations in lyric- 
al form, the unspeakably touching An Old Song 
Ended. Deeply sincere and impressive are A 
Gift of Silence, Love's Aftermath, and the elo- 
quent setting of Christina Rossetti's For a 
Dream's Sake. Daffodils is captivating in its 
spontaneous melody and exquisite piano part. 
In a more advanced style the Autumn Song, the 
Villanelle of The Poet's Road with its original 
harmonies, and the Moon Maiden with its ban- 
tering queries and answers. Amongst the 
very best of his songs are the early Two Poems: 
Voices of Vision and Willows, written in 1903, 
wonderfully daring in richness of texture and 
originality of setting. New modes of expression 
have been opened up in the Two Chinese Songs, 
Waiting and A Picnic, to H. A. Giles' transla- 
tion from the Chinese. The oriental feeling in 
these two wonderful songlets is delightfully 
reproduced. Whilst the first reaches the en- 

THE SONGS .7 105 

harmonic system as nearly as possible with a 
twelve-note scale, the second wins my pre- 
ference, being filled with a delightful rattle of 
musical " chopsticks.'* 

There is, however, another type of song 
to which Cyril Scott occasionally turns as 
indeed did also Brahms and other composers ol 
equal repute and this is the folk-song; for to 
omit any mention of Scott's activity in this di- 
rection would be to ignore some of his happiest 
inspirations. Indeed, one or two of his truest 
interpretations have been inspired by this folk- 
song element, notably An Old Song Ended, al- 
ready referred to, and also a setting of that ex- 
quisitely tender lyric, The Sands of Dee. No- 
thing could be more truly pathetic than the 
musical atmosphere of this setting, so entirely 
unlike the way in which it has been set before, 
that is to say, imitatively. Solely through the 
means of a folk-song-like melody and varying 
harmony, Scott has brought forth the unspeak- 
ably simple pathos of Kingsley's Poem. Nor has 
the simplicity suffered by a judicious use of mod- 
ern harmonic device, and the final cadence is new 
and yet retentive of an older world simplicity. 

There are other songs containing this folk- 
vein to a greater or lesser degree The White 
Knight being one, but of a more or less naive and 


gay quality, quite unlike The Sands of Dee. 
Then again we have the two old English fyrics, 
Lovely kind and kindly Loving and Why so wan 
and pale, neither of which, however, comes up to 
the quality of the later An Old Song Ended and 
The Sands of Dee. Another example, but of a 
different nature, may be mentioned the Tyro- 
lese Evensong. Here Scott has wandered into 
the folk element of another country and pre- 
sented us with an undeniable Tyrolese Mazurka 
for the piano with a sad, sustained song-melody 
woven into the texture of its prevalent gaiety. 

To leave the folk-type of song, in Lilac Time 
(written for Miss Maggie Teyte) to some excep- 
tionally happy words by Walt Whitman, the 
ecstatic mood of the poet is reproduced and am- 
plified by a beautifully-coloured sound-web, 
punctuated here and there by a little recurrent 
vocal arabesque, which exactly reproduces the 
happy exclamation anticipatory of pleasure and 
filled with quick breathing. 


...:/. - ;. .'-.':.:::>;,;.:- : ' :-*"J&S&&f-* 

It is not easy to vocalize, as the reader will dis- 
cover if he try. Later on, the poet's happy 
simile of the soul's journey, "like a magnificent 
ship gaily breasting the waters," and again, the 
references to the lilac-scent, the green grass, and 
the morning drops of dew, receive as it were their 
very essence in this ingenious musical counter- 
part. The striking triumph of the final appog- 
giatated chords recalls the consummation of the 
Ode Heroique. This is one of his very finest 

Both words and music of Spring Song have 
been written by Scott. The cuckoo-calls, sug- 
gested and developed rather than exactly re- 
produced, which constitute the short prelude, 
form, as it were, a background for the 
whole. The simple little arabesque forms a 
highly effective ritornel wondrously shaded by 
variously emotional inflections to the psalmodic 
melody, which is spun out over sustained chords 
of original harmonic colour. 

In the joyous Spring-day, the soul of the 
^poet-musician carols forth, awakening far dreams 
anew, as springtime streams "from skies , of 
endless blue." At the words "love-knit har- 
mony" a rich webbing of long-strung arpeggios 
is commenced and continues to the end, with 
just a slight poising here and there on some rich 


new harmony whilst the voice melodizes in psalnv^ 
like declaration. The composer's fondness for J 
ritornels will be noticed here as a beautiful form- J 
device, which he uses equally effectively also in ; 
Lilac Time. 

It was to Melchior Lechter, the famous Ger-j 
man artist and designer already referred to, that | 
in memory of a close friendship Cyril Scott dedi- " 
cated one of his most touching songs of parting, 
entitled Sorrow. It contains three short sobbing 
stanzas by Ernest Dowson, in which the poet's 
breath seems almost smothered by his sobs. 

-'-'.-.''-.'."'"-". !"'.':' '-' : v ' ''"* ''' """." -T" '. ../-.-.- '. '-*.'_:" -: -..f.. 4v-V-*^&r 

5 , Exceeding sorrow 
Consumeth my sad heart, 
Because to-morrow 

"We must depart; 

Now in exceeding sorrow all my part. 

For simple pathos the diatonic music would be 
difficult to surpass ; its very simplicity being the 
rare accident of perfect beauty here. From its 
grief-laden opening to its close the very quin- 
tessence of silent sorrow is caught, Ernest Dow- 
son has supplied Cyril Scott with a large number 
of sympathetic poems which seem to coincide 
with the soul-states of the composer. 

Amongst the many facets of Cyril Scott's 
versatile genius, one perhaps marvels most at 

' ? *< 




the wonderfully accurate reproduction of nature 
and its corresponding symbolism of human moods 
at the same time. He has the rare gift of appre- 
hending these moods in the three planes, visual, 
aesthetic and emotional all at once. We were 
once discussing colour and movement and in the 
course of argument Cyril Scott went to the piano 
and played a remarkable rendering of the play of 
Rainbow Trout 1 in clear water. Long, un- 
usual, chromatically-coloured arpeggios swept 
over a range of four octaves in the upper region 
of the keyboard, whilst slow, scarcely-moving 
harmonies in the bass suggested quiet pools of 
clear water. " Rather too loud for minnows " 
was the composer's remark. 

Another example of his great power of repro- 
ducing moods, is the musical setting of Margaret 
Maitland Radford's stanzas entitled "Rain.' 5 
The regular patter of the seconds maintains a mo- 
notonous sodden atmosphere more accurately 
seized than even by Debussy in his Jardins sous 
la pluie. This creates a monotonous drab 
throughout, pleasing by its verisimilitude save 
where likens the sweeping rain-drifts to a 
weird procession of "giant ghosts with hollow 
ancient eyes." The high key setting is the 

I Now published (Schott & Co.) 


original form. It would be a good thing if pub- 
lishers would always state the original key of-a' 
song. In this instance the accompaniment is 
a little gruff in the lower key. 

An unerring taste in poetry is the necessary 
concomitant of the song-composer. One c 
not set an auctioneer's catalogue to music as't* 
Strauss seems to think, and the perfect lyricist is$|| 
prevented by a sense of fitness, if not by intu-||l 
ition, from choosing unsuitable material. And | 
so it comes about that in a composer's choice of 
lyrics, as in his leanings towards various poets, ;. 
one gets a valuable index to his music, valuable ; 
not only to the critic and to the appreciator, but : ".j 
also to the interpreter of the songs and the ac- 
companist. -l|| 

Cyril Scott's choice wanders over an 
immense field from the Scotch Lullaby of 
Walter Scott to the lays of W. R. Patten trans- 
lated from the Greek. The two poets who have 
the most impelled Cyril Scott's responsive muse 
to utterance are Ernest Dowson and Rosamund 
Marriott Watson. In Dpwson's Villanelle of 
the Poet's Road, Love's Aftennath, A Song of 
Arcady, Pierrot and Moonmaiden, and many 
others of his lays, Scott has indeed found him- 
self moved to some of his finest expressions. 
Mrs. Watson makes a no less powerful appeal to 


him. The Unforeseen, Autumn's Lute, Invo- 
cation, Prelude and Nocturne too musical in 
themselves for many composers to attempt the 
task successfully have found in Cyril Scott an 
interpreter of rare delight. Herbert A. Giles' 
translations from the Chinese have also caught 
the composer's mood, and in the Two Chinese 
Songs, Waiting and A Picnic, we find the actual 
counterparts in lyrics of the moods of the Piano 
Concerto, the Poppies, &c. 

In all these poets it is as if Cyril Scott found 
his own soul-states faithfully mirrored. The deli- 
cate, sad grace of Dowson, the strong, rugged, 
emotion of Walt Whitman, the quaint sim- 
plicity of older poets like George Darley, and 
the delicate other-world romance of Dante 
Gabriel Rossetti appeal almost equally to him. 
In his wide eclectic choice of poems he reveals 
an unerring instinct, and he does not make the 
common mistake of thinking that every poem by 
a favourite poet is equally good. But perhaps 
the most interesting songs are those few in which 
the composer sets to music his own words, such 
as Two Poems, Voices of Vision, Willows, &c. 

These thoughts raise the most significant ques- ' 
tions as to the coincidence of contemporary 
moods in the various arts. Such an investiga- 
tion would be no less fruitful than a philosophical 



enquiry into the close analogy between the various 
modern tendencies which arise at the same time 
in different countries, varying only in national 
colouring and idiom but coinciding in essence. 



UNQUESTIONABLY one of Cyril Scott's greatest 
works is his Sonata for Violin and Piano, which 
we have briefly dealt with in Chapter V. This 
was written between the years 1908 and 1910. 
It is in his most vigorous style, full of fine themes 
marshalled with a wonderful power and arrayed 
in gorgeous harmony. It is essentially a work 
for artists of the first rank and is thoroughly mod- 
ern from the first bar to the last. 

Shortly afterwards, in 1911, came the Talla- 
hassee Suite, dedicated to Zimbalist. Despite 
the title, the only movement possessing the 
" nigger feeling " to a marked extent is the last. 
It is very diatonic and therefore very unlike 
Scott ; the first theme must surely be a genuine 
Southern States folk-tune, whilst the Allegro 




con spirito is glorified "ragtime." In this re-; 
spect, the piece justifies its title, and the Negro 
Air and Danse make a splendid foil for the ex- 
quisite musings of the first movement, Bygone^ 
Memories (a reverie for muted violin), and alsoi; 
for the second, a dolce far niente Allegretto,^ 
composed, as it were, whilst lazily lying in the 
prairie grass After Sundown. The technical re- 
quirements of this Suite do not make very great 
demands on either of the players, and it is in the 1 
composer's best "non-tonal" style. 

The three pieces of Opus 73 (dedicated to Paul 
Stoeving) belong to the year 1910. The Elegie 
is a fine melodic outpouring into a perfectly; 
finished mould. Cast on simple ternary lines, the 
violin has the chief melody at first ; when this is 
taken over by the piano, the violin soars above 
.with a new melody equally spontaneous and 
tained. The middle portion rightly accords with - 
the mood of the whole. It is rare to find Scott 
taking up the Valse form, but he is entirely suc- 
cessful in retaining his characteristic style in the 
second number of this set, Valse triste. The 
meaning of the curious reference to a well-known 
theme with an entirely diatonic treatment is not 
quite clear. 

The Romance is particularly charming with its 
gently swaying harmonies, its picturesque epi- 


sode (a fine piece of artistry), and its beautifully 
balanced phrasing. 1 

The tiro pieces of 1911 reveal the folksong 
influence to which we have already referred. The 
delicacy of the Cherry Eipe setting, and the rich 
harmonic dress given to the Gent le Maiden 
(an old Irish Air), are unique in violin literature. . 
These two pieces are great favourites with John 
Dunn, the English violinist. 

Of the Deux Preludes I. prefer the Danse 
(dedicated to Miss Daisy Kennedy). It is very 
difficult, and owes its origin to that characteristic 
of Scott in this impish gambolling mood the 
repetition of an arabesque in contrary motion 
standing it on its legs and on its head alternately, 
as it were. The Poem which is freely modu- 
latory, rather than "non-tonal," appears to 
commence in E flat and to end in A flat. 

This brings us to two of the loveliest of Scott's 
works the Sonnets, published in 1914. In the 
first one in C, over a characteristic accompani- 
ment of distant bell-like tones in sixths wander- 
ing about mostly in steps of a fourth, the violin 
sings contentedly, the mute throwing a roman- 
tic twilight feeling over the whole. The second 
melody is of equal beauty and the swaying tonali- 

1 The " sharp " to the " A " in the final bars is intended for the " F." 


Jltfefrafb. motto modenxto. 

t ftotln consenting. - 

Xr j'i 

ties at the close are of exquisite sweetness. 
Played with the requisite delicacy of intimate 
feeling, it invariably arouses a keen desire for its 

Sonnet No. II in E major has the same note 
of charming intimacy, and has in addition, an 
episode of indescribable weirdness it must be 
heard for it refuses to be put into words ; but if 
it is true that in lyric verse the Sonnet is the 


purest, the most difficult and the most restrained 
form of poetry, then these two pieces of Scott 
justly deserve this exacting title. 

Cyril Scott is universally known in the world 
of song and piano music, and a wide and speedy 
recognition of his violin and orchestral composi- 
tions is much to be desired. And this for many 
reasons. Here in England and in America, our 
appreciation of him has too long been confined 
to particular cliques, whereas his works cover the 
whole range of musical instruments, and fine as 
his smaller pieces are, a composer should surely 
be judged by his greater works, or at any rate 
by a broad assessment of his complete output 
and not by a mere part of it. 

The Violin works in particular well deserve 
the wide recognition which must come to them 
in time ; for Scott is peculiarly intimate with the 
Violin tone ; not only does he handle all the 
older violin technique freely and nimbly but he 
has brought many new devices and effects into 
the combination. His pieces will not commend 
themselves to the old-fashioned violinist who 
expects the pianist to play the Cinderella to him, 
to keep his few simple chords well in the back- 
ground, to pause servilely whilst he gambles 
through a long and meaningless cadenza and to 
gallop madly home with the postludial chords. 

120 - , v *|: CYRIL SCOTT ^ 

There are no " fireworks " with Scott ; but there 
is plenty of technique required. Far from being; 
a humble servitor, the pianist has equal rights 
with the violinist ; the two interests are perfectly^ 
combined and unified. The construction 
each of these pieces is wonderfully welded into : | 
one whole. In other words they are duets, andl 
not solos with accompaniment. What a relief it- 
is to the artistically-minded to hear -violin musical 
of this order! Why should not violin music be 
just as artistic as that for the orchestra, the pianos 
or any other instrument? 

The violinist who is making the first acquaint-; 
ance with Cyril Scott's string music should first 
take up the two melodies, Cherry Ripe and The 
Gentle Maiden (the violin part is quite diatonic),^ 
and then he may pass to the three pieces of Opus - 
73, Elegy, Valse triste and Romance (they are; 
fairly diatonic). The Tallahassee Suite will be 
the next step, as although fairly profuse in chro-^ 
matics it is still "tonal." We pass into the - 
"non-tonal" style with the Two Sonnets and / 
the Deux Preludes whilst the Sonata should ^ 
only be attempted by artists of the first rank.-;g| 

A solitary contribution for Flute and Piano, ^ 
Scotch Pastoral, may be mentioned here. It ., 
was published by Hansen of Christiania in^ 
1914 and belongs to the order of the Violin^ 


works, the Gentle Maiden, the Elegy, the .Ro- 
mance, and the Two Sonnets. There is little 
that is Scotch, though much that is Scottian, in 
the treatment of the two themes Ye bonnie 
braes and the Strathspey. As for the flute part, 
it suffices to say that the instrument is a great 
favourite with Cyril Scott, and that this piece 
always does " come off" in a remarkable way. 




As the heading implies, this Chapter will be 
somewhat technical, and the reader is fore- 
warned that a certain amount of technical terms 
cannot be avoided. If the reader is little con- 
cerned with this side of music he will probably 
elect to skip over this Chapter, and he will cer- 
tainly have the author's hearty concurrence in 
such a course. 

At the same time, the book would not be com- 
plete if some consideration of this side of 
Cyril Scott's art were not included. 

The composer is so thorough going in his pur- 
suit of newness and his careful avoidance of all 
that is obvious and banal, that his originality ex- 
tends to matter as well as to manner, to form 
(thpugh here not so completely) as well as 
to texture. But nowhere is his inventiveness 
more striking perhaps than in his use of harmony, 
for Cyril Scott is undoubtedly the richest har- 
monist we possess. 




The merely casual observer too readily couples 
up Scott's harmonic st) T le with that of the brilli- 
ant French Impressionist, Claude Debussy, But 
the first examination of Scott's work shows that 
his treatment is quite different, and thoroughly 
characteristic only of himself. Whereas the 
French master follows too closely along the scien- 
tific lines of overtones often to the extent of 
mere mannerism Scott derives his harmony 
through altogether different channels. It would 
be difficult to find such a rich and lusty passage 
in the French composer's works as the following 
(from the Jungle Book) and such are very com- 
mon with Scott : 

Nor could many of the musical passages which 
we have already quoted, if any, be mistaken for 

Scott carries his harmony further into new 
fields, for the simple reason that he is not tied 
down to the scientific laws of acoustics as is the 


French master, and he secures in consequence 
an endless variety ; whereas Debussy frequently 
seems as though he cannot get away from a few 
favourite arrangements of "dominant ninths" 
and certain "whole tone scale" effects. 

Scott's harmony is never cloying but always 
vital, opalescent and varied in hue, and his many 
effects of chord colour are due entirely to the deli- 
cate accuracy of his hearing. Not only are his 
chords delicious in their sequential connection, 
but almost each one is a gem of euphony in itself. 
In no particular does the genius of Cyril Scott 
seem to be more evident than in this matter of 
harmonic texture. 

Harmony is of prime importance with Scott's 
music and the quotation of a melodic fragment 
without the full harmony would be almost a wil- 
ful representation of him. Although he has 
gone through a succession of harmonic styles, his 
harmonic technique did not unfold in a consecu- 
tive way. 

His work cannot be divided into periods, but 
distinct stages w r ill be noticed. From the some- 
what ordinary productions of his primary stage, 
he seems to have stepped almost immediately, at 
least so far as his published works go, to the com- 
plex style of such pieces as Dagobah and the 
Chinese Songs. Then came his non-tonal 



period the musical language of the Concerto, 
the Scherzo and the Quintet. Later the influ- 
ence of folk-tunes made itself felt in his modern 
settings for diatonic melodies. 

He himself explains his non-tonal style, as be- 
ing derived from regarding each chord as though 
it were in a separate key, and certainly this view 
helps one materially in quickly grasping such 
pieces as the Scherzo and the song Voices of 
Vision. For his harmony is chordal rather than 
contrapuntal, to be regarded vertically rather 
than horizontally. We find very few passages 
like the following from his Concerto : 


where the harmony rims on a horizontal 
plane. His chords are beautifully tinted with 
added notes and by unusual arrangements. Nor 
is it only beauty that he seeks in his chord, but 
pungency, even acidity, and real emotional 
power. Take the following phrase from Over 
the Prairie, and note the curious effect of the se- 
quence of chords : 

From the purely technical point of view, this 
delicate shading of his harmony is his most salient 

Then again, the scale which he most favours 
is one very much like the chromatic scale with 
every note equally free. His harmonic system 
agrees with his scale, and he does not mind very 
much how he spells his chords ; for he does 
not point, like Scriabin and Busoni, towards a 
system of third and quarter tones. His harmony 
owes much to the use of other scales too, exotic 



ones, modal, mediaeval, and Eastern ; and he 
inclines very little to thte whole-tone scale, 
which, by the way, came from the East (the 
Siamese) through the Russians (chiefly Dargo- 
misky and Musorgsky). 

The love of bell-tones is no new thing, but few 
composers, if any, have produced such entranc- 
ing effects as those curious combinations con- 
sisting chiefly of fourths which we find in the 
Piano Concerto, at the end of the Diatonic 
Study, and elsewhere, especially in Bells 



Sometimes these bell effects cause a strange 
creaking of enharmonics, as in the Cavatina. 


The pedal-figure is turned to fine use in the 
Irish Reel, Pierrette, &c. 






& H j 


p0co *franquilfo 

What harmonic metamorphoses may happen to 
a simple diatonic theme of Scott is well shown 
by one of the chief themes in the Concerto : 


The same theme also furnishes us with a fine use 
of chords in which the fourths predominate. 



Occasionally his melodic outline bears a strong 
resemblance to that of the Russian Scriabin : 





c " J J 

but Scott's treatment of the theme is altogether 
different. Here is one of his harmonizations : 

^ ] 


. 5 



I J 

f /Hb j - 


tf B .f- 

to 2 

\t/ .Jr ^ 

k^ . * 

* motto 

^* if 
espress. + '+-: 

f* f- 


^ ] JT^ ^ I 

/ M 

JC Z2 2 * 

r r 

.. zirzz: 


Such passages as the following, in which the 
broken fourths play a prominent part, are pecu- 
liarly characteristic of Scott : 

Then again, he has the capacity for writing 
melodies of a wonderfully sustained length as al- 
ready said. Take for example the opening sub- 
ject of the Quintet (forty-one bars long) or the 
second (cantilena theme) in the last movement in 
the Violin Sonata. One annotator has observed 


that the melody seems to emerge from his music 
as its flower and ecstasy, rather than as the source 
of it; and that when it comes, it has "a syllabic 
intensity which differs from the moulded 
phrase." But this impression only comes about 
because with Scott ^ melody and harmony are 
conceived as one whole and inseparable thing a 
fact much less frequently the case with many 
composers, than is generally supposed. And the 
intensity is only "syllabic" to those unaccus- 
tomed to such a free and independent treatment 
of the so-called chromatic notes ; for Scott is cer- 
tainly as great as a melodist as he is original as a 

His use with the arabesque again is highly 
characteristic. The charm of this weaving of 
patterns in music extends right back to the medi- 
eval musicians with their intense liking for end- 
less twisting convolutions in the plainsong. An 
arabesque in music is a fanciful patterning of 
notes which aims at pleasing the hearer on its 
own account, just as the flamboyant tracery of 
Gothic architecture pleases and interests the 
eye. It must be something more than a mere 
arpeggio and in its full glory should have one or 
more convolutions like the twinings of a convol- 
vulus. It plays a very great part in Scott's 
music, turning up first in the form of the little 


trill in the Blackbird 9 s Song, then in the tintin- 
abulations of the bell-figures in No. 3 of the 
Poems, assuming great dimensions in the Rain- 
bow Trout, and it is even responsible for the long 
sinuous trailing of the melody in the Diatonic 
Study. The rich foliation in the Second Piano 
Suite owes just as much to this device as does the 
realistic curvetting of the little wavelets and the 
swish of the water in Sea Marge; whereas the 
scintillating cadenza of the Prelude Solenelle 
owes its origin to it just as much as does the 
gentle curving of the Danse Languor 'euse, 
Opus 74. 

His love of arabesquing in music is also re- 
sponsible for one of his most bewildering effects 
his use of shifting tonalities in the bass under 
a treble pattern technically called a "pedal fig- 
ure.' ' We see this in Bells (No. 3 of the Poems) ; 
but perhaps the most remarkable example of it is 
where it is used in conjunction with the unso- 
phisticated Irish Reel, from which \ve have al- 
ready quoted. In his treatment of the piano- 
forte too we find him equally original. One of 
his greatest effects is secured by treating the 
piano as a large dulcimer ; the notes then have a 
star-like independence and luminosity which al- 
lows but little apparent melodic connection. 

I believe he is getting already a little dissoci- 


ated from the piano keyboard as a channel of ex- 
pression. The orchestra has his love, and he is 
turning his eyes towards fresh fields to conquer. 
We have more than once talked on the won- 
derful possibilities of the modern organ with 
its tonal wealth and new expressive powers, and 
probably it will claim some of his attention in 
the near future. 

With the orchestra again, he is careful to avoid 
the obvious. Where a conventional composer 
would use three horns he employs say, two low 
flutes and a solo viola (muted) ; and thus he ob- 
tains the exact tint for the archaic feeling of La 
Belle Dame sans Merci. But he can touch also 
the highest lights \vith the most exhilarating ef- 
fects ; witness the clever assimilation of the or- 
chestration to the timbre of the pianoforte in the 
Concerto, \vhere harp, celesta, and companella ef- 
fects are made so many auxiliaries to establish 
intercourse on equal terms with the orchestra. 
His fastidious taste in the choice of instruments 
always keeps him far from the shoal on which so 
many composers get stranded the love of mam- 
moth orchestras with their appalling noise. For 
the Concerto, for instance, a very moderate selec- 
tion suffices : 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 
1 oboe, timpani, harp, and the usual strings. 

It is a matter of surprise to me to hear people 


say occasionally that the music of Cyril Scott is 
lacking in form and construction. To my mind 
he is far too conservative with form, but this is 
more particularly the case with his shorter pieces. 
To my mind the simple ternary design a- b- a- is 
far too naive ; a mere reference to the first sub- 
ject rather than a full repetition, satisfies my 
sense of symmetry and balance. 

"Cyril Scott," writes Perc}^ Grainger, " com- 
poses rather like a bird sings, with a full positive 
soul behind him, drawing greater inspiration 
from the mere physical charm of actual sound 
than from any impetus from philosophical pre- 
occupations or the dramatic emotions of objective 
life. Thus while Strauss is largely concerned with 
philosophical themes and Debussy apparently 
often full of pictorial suggestions and influences, 
it is mainly sounds (how they sound rather than 
what they express) that coax utterance from Cyril 
Scott's touching and poetical emotional self. 
This preponderance of the purely musical ele- 
ments in his art strikes me as a result that might 
almost be expected of the conditions of music in 
England" Nevertheless, although this opini- 
on of Grainger is true, it is only sometimes so, 
for Scott has often produced his best work when 
depicting pictorial or emotional ideas as in the 
Poems for instance. 


We may fittingly finish this cursory survey 
With Debussy *s estimate : 

" Cyril Scott is one of the rarest artists of the 
present generation. His rhythmical experiments, 
his technique, even his style of writing, may at 
first sight appear strange and disconcerting. 
Inflexible severity, however, compels him to 
carry out to the full his particular system of aes- 
thetics, and his only. The music unfolds itself 
somewhat after the manner of those Japanese 
Rhapsodies which, instead of being confined 
within traditional forms, are the outcome of im- 
agination displaying itself in innumerable arab- 
esques, and the incessantly changing aspects of 
the inner melody are an intoxication for the ear 
are, in fact, irresistible. All those qualities 
are more than sufficient to justify confidence in 
this musician so exceptionally equipped." 









g ~ f 



Example of Orchcstralk 


_ 11 

ivtth 31 4e-efrum3ttcft3 


(/row the Pianoforte Concerto) 




As with Edgar Allan Poe, so with Cyril Scott, 
44 poetry is a passion " as well as the sweetest of 
all recreations. To leave music with its intri- 
cacies and turn to verse is a rest and a delight 
which he can find through no other medium. 
Moreover it enables him to express ideas and 
philosophies which the more abstract medium 
of music can never do. And yet, curiously 
enough, he feels that were he not a musician, he 
could not be a poet, and were he not a poet he 
would compose a very different sort of music. 
The two are blended and inseparable. After all, 
the first requisite of poetry is music, and a true 
poem must first appeal to the ear, before the 
reader will be lured on to search for its meaning. 
But as the trouble with much music is its ob- 
viousness, so is it with poetry its sound is too 
obvious, its music insufficiently subtle, even when 



its meaning is of deep import. And so when 
Scott first started writing verse he felt that a 
new music in the line and stanza was the goal to 
be striven for : and all the conventionalists who 
tried to prove the error of his ways, could not 
turn him from this method. Destiny put a 
teacher in his way in the shape of a French 
poet, Charles Bonnier, already mentioned in our 
biographical chapter (friend of Mallarme), and 
the most modern of the modern, whose prin- 
ciple was contained in the precept always find 
a new rhythm; let your ideas always come to 
you in the shape of a new melody in words. And 
this precept, Cyril Scott attempted to carry out, 
because it seemed to him the only right one ; as 
forcible in poetry as it is in music. 

The first verses, written at the age of 21, 
contained no philosophy of life : they were mere 
fancies, mere pictures, mere songs, mere word- 
music, but they went to the creating of a form 
which proved useful later on for the expression 
of ideas. Looking back at The Shadows of 
Silence and the Songs of Yesterday (his first 
little book of verse), he found most of the lyrics, 
mere "songs without words," and only allowed 
a few to be reprinted including the two follow- 
ing, which he set to music : 



These mournful trees caressed in the ancient poet's dreams, 
That weep their green unending tears along the silent 

streams ; 

Christened by the waste waters, sighing in the breeze, 
Willows weeping, wailing, where the world lulls at ease, 
Willows weeping, wailing; Nature's sorrow-stricken trees. 

Maidens stray along the daisied banks and sigh and sing, 
Plucking from the daisied grass the dainty buds of spring ; 
Where the lovers clasp hands and wend their flow'ry way, 
W T illows weeping, wailing at the words they say, 
Willows weeping wantonly because the world is gay, 
While they 
Are sad and grey. 


Eve, warm and sad, as the last light shimmers, 
And the pallid flowers sigh in the soft air; 

Love, found at last, through her calm soul glimmers : 
Perfumes wafting, breezes doling scents new and fair. 

Ah, chaste as morn, there she walks on, smiling; 

In the evening-hallowed grove, with a pale hand, 
Plays on her lute, thus the dear time whiling, 

Playing softly, virgin music; love's sweet command. 

So as he comes, and her mild eyes darken, 
And the tender shadows glide into veiled night; 

All thrills for him, and his strained ears hearken ; 
Music swaying, music dying, Love's end's delight. 

The second volume, The Grave of Eros, and 
the Book of Mournful Melodies, with Dreams 
from the East, was much in the same vein, 
the versification being more elaborate still, 
as in : 



Overspread with a chaste aureal veiling of buttercups, 

velvet and golden, 

The early summer meades exhale an amber caress, 
Presenting a cool capricious carpet, to which our listless 
eyes are beholden, 

And the sighs of olden 
Ages full in languid loveliness. 

The streamlet consoles kindly the willows, with waters 

refreshing, that glisten 
With smiles, and stroke their sombre stumps of plumage 


Entoning a tuneful rhythm of rapture, that causes our 
straining ears to listen, 

And my tears to christen 
Silently your head upon my breast. 

What sand in the old hour-glass niters its wearisome 

journey, reminding 

Again the distant chimes to sound their wonted regret; 
From every terrestrial toil disburdened, we follow the 
brooklet's beam-kissed winding, 

And our dream-tryst finding, 
Faint within a slumbrous oubliette. 

That the critics should say he was unable to 
scan, was hardly a matter for surprise, since his 
scansion was purposely unconventional, but that 
they should say he was influenced by Swinburne ; 
seeing that he had hardly read a line of that poet, 
and what he had read did not appeal to him, 
was at least interesting if untrue. Strange to 
say, the only poets that really appealed to him 
at that time were Ernest Dowson and Stefan 


George. Even Baudelaire whom he translated as 
a tour de force (inspired to do so by the encour- 
agement of Arthur Symons), only appealed to 
him in a very limited degree ; for, though he went 
through what is called the decadent phase, he 
confessed he only did so half-heartedly and with 
no conviction. Indeed, whatever little decad- 
ence he admired was soon to be dispelled by an 
entire change in his outlook the coming into 
contact with Oriental philosophy and theosophy 
at about the age of 26 ; an attitude which 
tinctured all his creative activity especially his 
verse. For he regards Yoga (as the Science is 
called) as the most vital and most absorbing 
thing in life ; embracing all its activities and 
inspiring them with a meaning of unfathomable 
profundity. Without such an outlook, at once 
a science and a religion (or rather the rationale 
of all religions) and a philosophy as well, life 
seems to him devoid of meaning ; a mere drifting 
along the pathway of time, one knows not 
whither. Thus from the day of that change, 
he used poetry no longer as a means solely to 
fabricate music in words, but to express what he 
considered the highest goal of life, and the third 
book, The Voice of the Ancient, 1 contained his 
attempts at this outpouring of the soul. 

lj. M. Watkins, London. 


From the pessimism (prompted by the spirit 
of agnosticism) contained in the first book of 
verse, he now turned to an exactly antithetical 
note, and wrote a poem on Vedanta, one of the 
most ancient systems of Indian philosophy. Its 
content is, that all consciousness is in reality 
one, and that its diversity is only in name and 
form and not in absolute truth. For all men 
are potentially supermen, not in the material 
sense of Nietzsche but in the spiritual sense ; and 
the object of all philosophy, art, and religion is 
to apprise humanity of this fact in order that 
humanity may become perfect and undying. 
Indeed, when mankind realises this, according to 
Scott, it must perforce see the world, with all 
its frets, as something entirely different ; for as 
the poem referred to, says : 

What are the world's foolish toys, and death's ephemeral 


Seeming endless, yet by the Endless, fleeter than light- 
ning's flashes. 

Think that never yesterday was, that there are no to- 

Then future fiends are void and past despairs are empty 
ashes ! 

In a word, "live in the Eternal," as the 
Theosophist puts it ; for only 4 by so doing is 
true happiness possible. This Vedanta poem 
is followed by others called Dreams after 


Death, giving a faint adumbration of what 
awaits the soul when the prison of the body has 
been cast away and man finds himself in 
Devachan or the Mental Plane. For on this 
plane, nearer to Unity of Consciousness, he 
knows himself : 

Not born to stranger's land no plane that asks a parting 

From former earth-engendered loves; 
Here every tone accords, the spirit knows no thwarting, 

And love returns enriched to him who loves. 1 

But this is not all, for it is a plane on which 
the sublimest happenings of earth, those mo- 
ments of deeply spiritual love-happiness are 
not only lived over again, but enhanced to a 
continuous glorification, as we get in another 
poem : 

All else is paled, we only live that moment, 

Expanded now unto Eternity. 
Upon the sacred mirror of the Spirit graven, 

One moment's life is endless ecstasy. 2 

Nevertheless although on such a plane of con- 
sciousness " man perceives that ' life was never 
Life,' ' yet it is not essential to leave the earth- 
sphere in order to experience what Edward Car- 
penter and others have called Cosmic Conscious- 
ness, still less the super-earthly consciousness of 

l The Awakening. Ibid. 
2 Ibid. 


the mental plane. Let the mind but suppress 
its grosser modifications, and the subtler hidden 
side of Nature, the "speech of the silence" 
makes itself perceptible. As another poem puts 

And through the calm the Voice of Evening came, 

It was not in the roses, perfumes, nor the balmy bank, 

It rose not from the stream, nor had it shape or Sound 

or name, 
It rose from Nowhere and to Nowhere sank. 1 

But to hear this subtler speech of Nature, we 
must suppress all the more turbulent emotions ; 
jealousy, anger, intolerance and the like must be 
banished from the soul. And so in the same 
book, we get a section headed Discourses 
which shows what the attitude of a superman 
would be towards those he loves : an attitude 
utterly devoid of the sense of possession which 
must be regarded as the root of most misery. 

It was about his 31st year that Cyril Scott 
finished another book, The Vales of Unity,* and 
in this he ventured into longer poems, one being 
in the form of a ballad, in which he attempted 
to show how even a courtesan can be a most 
saintly character. In fact, to disclose good and 

1 Ibid. Hymns to Autumn and Evening. 
2 David Nutt. 


beauty in all things must, with Cyril Scott, be 
the aim of the poet, and the awakening of more 
tolerance and charity in others should ever be 
one of his missions however unconsciously he 
may perform it. The old catch-phrase, " I 9 art 
pour /'art," has really little meaning ; for art has 
a definite function, however much wiseacres may 
try to deny the fact : it does undoubtedly dis- 
close beauties in things which would otherwise 
remain hidden ; and thus it elevates the mentali- 
ties of mankind. 

A Dead Poet, the poem that follows, shows 
that tendency in men to enjoy the fruits of 
the artist's creativeness and yet chide him for 
the imperfection of his character. Instead of 
weighing the good actions that the genuine artist 
accomplishes against the weakness of his char- 
acter, which often hurts nobody but himself, 
people are often too prone to forget this, and 
in return for all the beauty he gives them, for- 
give him nothing. They fail to realise that con- 
ventions can mean very little to the artist, be- 
cause conventionality arises either from mental 
laziness or fear of what others will say and think. 
Moreover the true genius must ever have the 
capacity to feel deeper love and emotions than 
the man in the street, for it is the very expression 
of these emotions which engenders poetry : 


He took the flowers of love to breathe their sweetness, 
And shape the soulful songs of his endeavour; 

His fervent heart forgetful of their fleetness, 
They faded, that his songs might live for ever. 

And ye ye bore not with him thankless, cruel, 
Ye took the harvest that his life's toil rendered; 

But would have robbed him of the vital fuel, 
And quelled the furnace that his muse engendered. 

The soul of the true artist must be gauged by 
what he writes. As set forth in the latest 
volume : 

He is his songs and not his earth-seen life 
Of love and living, peacefulness or passion's strife; 

For what he lived was only flesh, but what he sang 

was soul, 
His life the shadowy half, his songs the whole. 

Not what this flesh enacts of foolsome deeds, 
Nor how oft netherwards it falls, nor yet succeeds; 

But how divinely high to soul-sublimity it yearns, 
That is the truth-crowned symbol that discerns. 1 

In other words, the capacity and love for high 
ideals shows the nature of the soul ; the height, 
so to say, of the thoughts manifesting the true 
worth of the character. 

The final poem in this section of the book is 
again connected with the portrayal of a per- 
sonality that mysterious being known as an 

l The Celestial Aftermath. Prelude (Chatto & Windus). 


Adept, Master or Mahatma (whatever name 
occultism chooses to call him). The name taken 
in this case is a Rosier ucian, an Initiate in a 
secret society, 1 founded in the fourteenth cen- 
tury. There are people who doubt that such 
Adepts exist, with powers that to ordinary in- 
telligence must seem miraculous. Yet the poet 
urges this incredulity is hardly to be wondered 
at ; for such men live either retired lives, or else 
hide their spirituality from the eyes of the or- 
dinary man, revealing it alone to their few dis- 
ciples. These men, in fact, influence the world 
from the higher planes, and work mostly on those 
planes, asking nothing in return, having lost all 
desire for money, fame or sexual love. Their 
one love is the great orphan, Humanity, and 
their one aim to help it along the path of spiritual 

Perhaps the most significant lines in this poem 
are those which exhibit the tendency of human 
nature to try and convince knowledge by ignor- 
ance, for 

There are those who would attempt with strained endea- 

To sapiently deny him truths that 'neath his gaze, unfold : 
As if indeed the nescience born of blindness ever 

Could vanquish knowledge born of that which seeing 
eyes behold. 

l Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross. Robertas de Fluctibus. See 
The Rosicrucians. H. C. Jennings (Rider). 


So that the poet exhorts humanity : 

Let be at rest the oratory of your unseeing; 

Wise is the man who knoweth his unknowing and is mute ! 

The second section of this book is called The 
Garden of Soul-Sympathy, and is a collection 
of shorter poems. The Envoi of this section was 
used in the piano pieces entitled Poems (Schott). 

As to the last section headed Confidences, 
there is here set forth a eulogy of friendship in 
a poem written in rather unusual versification. 
Friendship in the poet's eyes is one of the sweet- 
est and highest joys of human life. 

Ah, many loves may glide 
Across the surface of the soul '**-' 
To part or to abide, 
Yet always, and at the end, 
Friend seeketh friend. 

For the poem goes on to say that friendship 
is as 

A god who doles alone 
The mildly sweet, but ne'er the sore. 
And solely for his own 
Demandeth never those who dwell 
Beneath his spell. 

More fair than that we call, 

In witless dearth of wisdom, love, 

Which truly asketh all, 

And somewhat gives, but would enchain 

Its glowing swain. 


For this bestows the best, 
In that it loves and letteth love, 
Not says with pride's behest 
Love me alone, or else depart 
From out my heart. 

No poorer at its close 

Than at its dawn, such hearts embrace; 

A tranquil way it flows, 

And should it wither, leaves no corse 

Of charred remorse. 

There are several more poems in this section, 
but space does not permit of their being dealt 
with. The mysticism contained in the final one 
entitled Retrospect is however worthy of note, 
since it does much to explain the title of the 
whole book, viz., The Vales of Unity. Here the 
poet in his meditations looks back on all the 
fleeting beauties of the year, beginning with the 
springtide : 

I wander back the journeyed way 
Unto the earliest feathered mummer, 
Who hails the entire song of summer 
Within his musicful array. 

Then he goes on to review all his joys and loves 
and sorrows, but with the unmoved vision of 
retrospection : 

And dews of ancient weepings waft 
Their bitterness-absterged sweetness, 
And love descends in Heaven's completeness, 
To take my heart in joyful haft. 


I'd seen the suns of glory set, 

I'd seen both dawning and decaying; 

And, what in Springtide wandered maying, 

Sink into Autumn's oubliette. 

Till finally he comes to that state where with 
the soul's eternal vision " he sees beyond the 
shadows of transition a substance that endures" ; 
and not only that, but he senses the sublimely 
mystical truth that each individual soul is a part, 
and absolutely essential to the World-soul. 

And never a Spring were without me, 
And without me there were no Summer; 
There is no goer and no comer, 
For all is one vast Unity. 

In other words, the soul is in reality perfect, 
eternal and one with the All-soul. 

We now pass on to the last published 
book, The Celestial Aftermath, A Springtide of 
the Heart and Far-away Songs. After the 
Prelude, in which the poet sets forth the object 
of poetry in the lines among others : 

A poet gives that other's eyes may see: 

What else were working worth than this sublimity ? 

A long poem follows, entitled The Celestial 
Aftermath, being a eulogy on a few soul-inspir- 
ing days spent at the end of summer in har- 

1 Chatto & Windus, London, 1915. 


monious accord with friends, in the English 
Lake country. Thus it begins : 

What earth-foretasted shimmer of Heaven's oneness 

For us within its ambient arms the Summer's faltering 

And from its farewell sighs a soul entwining sweetness 


Giving to each a joy to be his aidful part 
Across the bleak, brown hills of Autumn's ending 
And the Winter's shrewd and passionate smart ? 

It was this poem which called forth a long 
article by Ernest Newman, contending that 
Cyril Scott wrote poetry which made no sense, 
because the things he expressed therein were 
" inexperienceable." Such an outlook would 
negate a large proportion of poetry, for 
the simple reason that he who has no mystic 
experiences himself, will deny that others can 
have them. Space does not permit of our en- 
tering into all the details of this Celestial After- 
math or of the other poems which form the sub- 
ject-matter of this latest book. But, as the 
author claims, much of the outlook set forth 
in them might best be expressed by a para- 
dox, Ideal-Realism ; the latter word being how- 
ever shorn of any realistic flavour such as we meet 
with in the writings of a Zola or a Gautier. 
Neither the sordid nor the unpleasantly physical 


find a place in Scott's realism ; it is merely that 
he does not blind his eyes to the truth (or what 
he thinks to be the truth) respecting certain 
emotional phases of life and love. He thus de- 
picts real emotions, which is realism in a sense, 
but contrives to beautify them, and this beauti- 
fication is what constitutes the idealism. 

The import of the various poems is set in a 
frame-work which that remarkable stylist of 
English, George Moore, regards as a requisite 
of true poetry, namely, " a framework of flowers 
and all fair things." Indeed, such verses as the 
following, come up to what George Moore on 
reading them considered the highest standard of 
beauty : 

An alcove hung with smilax, 

And sweet with roses from more southern fields, 
Embowers us 'mid fragrance of near lilacs, 

Which the soft garden yields. 

A far-off flute has faded 

Behind the gently sunset-haloed hill, 
Where evening birds erewhile have serenaded 

The dreamful daffodil. 

Some of the poems entitled Far-away Songs 
are word-pictures : Of Spring, Of Spring at Au- 
tumntide, Of Autumn, Of Warm Winter Days, 
Snow-scape, Ballad of an Angry Summer, A 
Sussex Village, and so forth. One, however, 
called A Lake-Side Cemetery contains more than 


mere pictorial word-music, for it touches on the 
philosophy of Death. This portrays that 
inconsistency often found in the Christian 
community, of mourning over (with all its 
lugubrious accessories) those who have passed 
out of the body. The writer shows here the 
deep but unrecognised distinction between be- 
lief and real knowledge. Thus he reflects : 

I see them now those travailed ones, 

I, glad initiate of death's rare meadows: 

They wander 'mid the cypressed shadows 

To deck with buds the urns of bronze; 

So wearied, yet so mighty in Belief, 

Where but one gleam of Knowledge had disbanded grief. 

The poet is therefore an optimist in the more 
correct, yet not extreme, sense of the word. 
Even death is not sorrowful to him who under- 
stands it, for in truth, ignorance is the cause of 
most sorrows. Lamentations are only a form 
of selfishness. Let the mind but identify itself 
with the truly important things of life (he 
philosophizes), especially in the sense of the 
eternal things, and there is no room for mourn- 
ing over departed ones. 

It is quite beyond the limits of this book to 
dwell in any further detail upon the wide range 
of Cyril Scott's imaginative conceptions as a 
poet. The reader needs only to refer to his works 


to become acquainted with the intellectual wealth 
and prodigality of Scott's genius. There is more 
of the seer than of the prophet in his poetry. 
The simplicities of life, which make up the rou- 
tine of existence for the majority of men and 
women, have little attraction for him. The 
passions and emotions with which these poems 
mostly deal are not elemental. They verily exist, 
but they are the result of a chain of influences 
social, intellectual, aesthetic and religious- 
stretching back a thousand years and more ; and 
Cyril Scott proves himself a genius in being able 
to lay them bare for our inspection. His knife 
has a very keen and delicate edge. He probes 
deep, and in such a poem, for example, as Dis- 
courses in The Voice of the Ancient (page 41), 
he opens up, with marvellously clever touch, the 
profound secrets of the psychical nerve tissue of 
that curious creation a human soul. 

The style of these poems seems to indicate the 
point of view from which the author looks at 
truth. It is clearly formed to suit his highest 
and most predominant thought. As might be 
expected, the style is the man calm, even, musi- 
cal, and mystic. Like other writers of genius, 
Scott is sometimes below his usual level. Then 
his ideas are more commonplace, and his style 
becomes mere mannerism. But that is not often. 


He is mostly the true literary artist who KNOWS 
some things about the Eternal Self and about 
human relations, which he holds with a fine poise 
of power, not as the conclusions of the doc- 
trinaire but as the dynamics of his life. 

He touches the deeper experiences of exist- 
ence and lifts them to the light where others 
can see ; he paints in glowing words the incar- 
nate personality of man's eternal brooding, 
questioning desire. The soul of these poems is 
in the lines : 

Love is its own reward, and yields its own returning 
To him who swerves not 'neath its stern assay, 
Nor asks for tribute or repay. 

The Voice of the Ancient, p. 60. 

I have dwelt at some length on the poetry of 
Cyril Scott, as he tells me there are times when 
he feels a much better poet than a musician, 
which is saying a great deal ; and thus to omit 
dissertation of his poetry would be to present an 
incomplete view of his many-sided personality. 




AT present, the general run of people know but 
one Cyril Scott, the refined creator of novel and 
interesting salon pieces, and songs. This is no 
belittlement of his art, for these pieces are in- 
variably of the highest artistic type, and their 
inclusion in any programme at once creates a 
high standard and a refined atmosphere. But 
very few people suspect the existence of many 
other sides of his fascinating personality. Musi- 
cians, however, at least those watchful of the 
progress of the art, and those more especially 
conversant with the concert rooms of France, 
Italy and Germany, know another and a far 
greater Cyril Scott the composer of the Or- 
chestral Passacaglias, the Quintet, the Piano- 
forte Concerto, and many other large works, 
seldom heard in England. Still, only a few of 
those even realise the full extent of his man} T - 


sidedness. He has innumerable modes, and 
many of those even are richly subdivided. Take, 
for instance, his Eastern vein. With Bantock 
and Saint-Saens, this stops with the extreme 
vividness and variety of colour the pictorial 
side. Saint-Saens must have travelled in the 
Orient only over the routes of the personally 
conducted parties ; he probably took his French 
chef with him. He certainly gives us in his 
Algerian Suite, Africa, Melodies persanes, Sam- 
son and Delilah, etc., only the lightest of surface- 
painting. But Cyril Scott, without even visit- 
ing the Orient, breathes the very philosophy 
and occultism of the East. How he can do this, 
I know not. He attributes it, in his Dedication 
of the Egypt Impressions, to his own past Egyp- 
tian lives. Bantock in setting Omar Khayyam 
satisfies himself with depicting all the glowing 
colours of the Persian Poet. Cyril Scott gives 
the visual thing too, and goes to the very heart 
and soul of the matter as well, for he is deeply 
learned in Oriental lore, and extremely sensitive 
to its magic appeal. But he has the purely pic- 
torial side too ; or, as he would put it, writes 
occasionally entirely on the physical plane. Then 
he is more visualising than Ravel, more direct 
than Stravinsky. Take for instance his realistic 
Rikki-tiki-tavi and the Snake, his Paradise 


Birds (he himself has a vein of pure exultant 
carolling like the fantasias of birds). Take again 
the graceful, lightning-like whirling of his 
fascinating Rainbow-Trout and the comic 
clumsiness of his Elephant Dance. Even the 
philosophic and occult sides of his music have 
differentiations. The Hindu music of his 
Jungle Book gives quite a different feeling from 
the dark magic of the Sphinx, the Dagobah, 
and many pieces in Egypt. Then there is the 
Cyril Scott of the brilliant Impressionist period, 
somewhat closely allied to the Modern French 
schools of Koechlin and Florent Schmitt ; and 
later he gives us that remarkable style of sen- 
suous music-making which throws aside the last 
hold with the old styles the central keynote. 
And this brings us to another characteristic 
vein of his ; a mood most difficult of all to de- 
fine in words. It has for its basis that natural- 
ism which inspired our Constable alike with the 
French masters, Corot and Millet. These art- 
ists depict in no full-featured terms ; with them 
nothing is positive or fixed, but they " perceive" 
(in the words of Thomas Hardy) " how the In- 
definite can yet be defined." It is the pure 
fresh mood of early morning, the pensiveness of 
evening never the noontide glory which causes 
the souls of these artists to vibrate most 


sympathetically. It was so with Chopin, but 
here we have the essence of things intensified. 
This mood is the very opposite of the vivid art 
of the painter Sargent, or of the composer 
Strauss, or the startling up-to-dateness of 
Augustus John or of Grainger. These men have 
seized upon the prevailing spirit of their age, 
whereas other artists, Scriabin, Debussy and 
Scott, converse with the Spirit of Nature 
herself, far from the madding crowd, in solitude 
and aloofness. It is the sentiment of the 
true landscape painter alone, of Corot and Con- 
stable, which these musicians possess, and which 
is seen in such pieces as the Tenth Sonata of 
Scriabin, L'apres-midi d'un faune of Debussy, 
the Cavatina or the Second Suite of Scott. 

Another of the most interesting of Cyril 
Scott's activities is his harmonisation of old 
melodies. He has* revived these old " things of 
beauty " and placed them in new surroundings. 
Such a tendency, as he has explained, is found 
in literature, and even in painting, since some 
of the Pre-Raphaelites, and such a painter 
as Hodler, are so near the ancient in both spirit 
and manner that they may be classed as revival- 
ists. Scott rightly holds that a thing of beauty 
is not a joy for ever, and thus he says in the 
Envoy to The Celestial Aftermath : 


All greatness needs must new device portray, 
And though a poet's prideful hope may perish, 
Yet fairest things are not a joy for aye. 

Now there are two ways of treating old airs 
from the accompanimental point of view, one 
being as great an anachronism as the other. 
The method adopted by arrangers and editors 
of adding as unobtrusive, uninventive and as 
dull an accompaniment as possible, is as great an 
anachronism (if we bring this idea into the 
connection with the matter at all) as the method 
of composers w r ho endeavour to put as much of 
their own individuality into the frame-work of 
the particular air they feel inspired to set ; for 
very few arrangers really adapt their accompani- 
ment to the particular period of the air in ques- 
tion, but (apparently without knowing it) add 
a sort of Mendelssohnian (or anything else 
popular at the time) flavour instead. As Cyril 
Scott says in his Philosophy of Modernism, they 
forget that Mendelssohn is as much an anach- 
ronism in connection with an old song as De- 
bussy is. A melody in itself is not sufficient at 
the present day to hold the pleasurable attention 
of serious musicians. As he quaintly says, it 
may be sufficient to hold the attention of the 
butcher's boy, but it has no place in the concert 
hall. Otherwise Donizetti would still be modern 


and Verdi would not have taken over Wag- 
nerian accessories at the end of his career. 
Cyril Scott has somehow achieved an absence 
of tonality in setting these purely tonal things. 
The best instances of w r hich are to be found as 
already mentioned in his Passacaglia for orches- 
tra No. 1 (on the Irish Famine Song) and in 
his use of The Girl I left behind me in the piano 
meditation Sea-Marge. As an example of 
Scott's free treatment of ancient melodies, I 
would mention his pianoforte piece founded on 
the thirteenth century tune Sinner is icumen in. 
The composer here treats the intonation of the 
leading note as arbitrarily as the early medieval 
singers themselves would probably do. The note 
is B flat as often as it is B natural. The fact 
that the piece ends on an F major chord with 
a terrific glissando (including B natural) does not 
greatly assist the anxious enquirer after scales 
and tonalities. The old Welsh tune, All through 
the Night, and the Irish melody, The Wild, 
Hills of Clare, however still preserve the feeling 
of a steady tonic centre, although doubtless there 
are a few anxious moments for those who keep 
the more generally accepted harmonies in mind. 
With the violin pieces, Cherry Ripe, and the 
beautiful Irish air, The Gentle Maiden, the 
modern atmosphere or aroma, call it what you 


will, is to my mind much more successful. The 
violin part there confines itself to the diatonic 
melodies, whilst the piano supplies an emotional 
background of a modern order. Although I 
confess that some of these settings of his do not 
carry conviction to me, these two violin pieces 
seem to be ideal presentments of this novel style. 
There is little doubt that the music of Cyril 
Scott is destined to take a high place in the music 
of the future. And not only the music, but also 
the manner of it, the calmness of the musician 
himself, partly leading me to this conclusion. 
He was heralded with no fanfares ; he is afflicted 
with no jumbo-manias ; he demands no over- 
grown gargantuan orchestras or choruses, al- 
though his treatment of them is nearly always 
quite new and individual ; he has never courted 
the press, nor indulged in floods of advertising, 
covert or otherwise ; rather has he deliberately 
shunned publicity, and not infrequently know- 
ingly alienated the more conservative critics. He 
once said that 4 6 Fame is an evil contrivance to 
waste one's time. As to money-making, it is 
the greatest waste of time imaginable. How can 
anybody centre his mind on trying to write 
beautiful things when he is thinking of money? 
To make more money than the bare comforts of 
life demand, ought never to be the aim of the art- 


ist ; if it comes his way of its own accord, that is 
another matter. As to winning over the critics, 
the more ' slated ' one is the better : to be im- 
mediately understood, means one is not worth 

It is hardly to be wondered at that a man who 
can write 

Not wise is even he who sings for bay 
Of future laud in lieu of present laurel, 
For both are but the toys of children's play. 

should not court publicity. " If I am worth any- 
thing, time will prove it ; if I am worth nothing, 
then all the better if my writings are not heard." 
And his final reflection on this matter is that 
Fame wastes a young man's time, and tires an 
old man's body, therefore Nature is not unkind 
when it only permits some people to be famous 
after their death. 

There is, in consequence, about his music as a 
whole, as about his nature, that calm and reserve, 
that poise and quiet confidence, which I can only 
liken to the chief characteristics of the music of 
the grandest of all musical geniuses unknown 
in his generation and for long afterwards, but 
now regarded as strikingly modern Johann 
Sebastian Bach. This does not imply that 
his music is void of vitality and of passion ; 


far from it ; for the Quintet, the Violin Sonata 
and many other works would at once give the lie 
to that statement ; but the passion and vitality is 
as it were not that fret and wearing passion of 
earth, but is of a plane where force is both intense 
activity and calm at the same time, paradoxical 
though this may sound. 

Conservative people will call many of the 
new harmonies of Cyril Scott harsh and discord- 
ant, yet Concord and Discord are indefinite 
things ; every decade sees some new combination 
accepted as a concord. 

Art is a fluid thing, the laws of which are con- 
tinually being modified. The old contrapuntists 
reckoned the fourth as a discord, nowadays we 
accept the dominant seventh as a concord, then 
comes Scriabin with his sky-scraper of fourths 
which he accepted as the perfect concord and the 
mystic chord at the same time. Old things come 
round again, but never quite in the same way. 
Just as the early English and Elizabethan com- 
posers need a Dolmetsch to interpret their false 
relations, quaint turns, and idioms, just as 
Wagner brought in a new school of conductors 
und singers, so the music of Cyril Scott demands 
a new type of exponents, pianists of modern ca- 
pacities such as Grainger, Arthur Rubinstein, 
William Murdoch, or Percy Waller, conductors 


like Beecham or Goosens, and such exquisitely 
temperamental vocal interpreters as Miss Jean 
Waterston, Miss Maggie Teyte, Mr. Hubert 
Eisdell, or Mr. Gervase Elwes. Curiously 
enough, however, some of the very singers who 
one would think might be attracted to the songs 
have refrained from taking them up : and these, 
moreover, with the type of talent and voice so es- 
pecially suited to them. And yet, why this inces- 
sant outcry for good English songs when they are 
to hand even without the asking? True it is that 
each year a larger number of vocalists are recog- 
nising the merit of the Scott songs, but it has 
taken the courage and enterprise of a few more 
enlightened artists to bring this tardily about. 
Especially have we to thank Miss Grainger-Kerr, 
Miss Jean Waterston and Miss Beryl Freeman 
for actually forcing the English public to accept 
Cyril Scott, just as Sir Henry Wood forced the 
English to accept Debussy : renouncing mere 
love of applause for the nobler aim of introduc- 
ing sincere art into the concert halls. 

The sources of a composer's inspiration are un- 
doubtedly of interest, although naturally they 
tend, with the evolution of music, to become less 
special and more fundamental as time goes on. 
Whereas one traces the music of Chopin to the 
Polish dances and songs, the music of Vaughan- 


Williams, like the poetry of Walt Whitman, 
largely to the sea, the music of Beethoven to na- 
ture, of Schumann to literature, of Scriabin to 
colour, and so forth, it is mbre difficult to decide 
the sources of Cyril Scott's inspiration . To 
literature assuredly he owes much, and he him- 
self frequently turns his pen to it for relief. The 
close and intimate connection between his music 
and the poetry of his songs, too, shows what a 
power this sister art possesses over him. His 
theosophic and occult studies have also left a deep 
impress on his music. Doubtless too, the music 
of others whom he admires Wagner, Strauss, 
Stravinsky, Debussy, Grainger, Ravel has 
stimulated his muse in a healthy way. But there 
is a power within him which gives impulse more 
than any other : it is the joyful welling forth 
of music itself as a natural force. It often gushes 
out after the manner of an extemporaneous per- 
formance in a sheer glad carolling, a happy 
warbling like that of the natural song birds, out 
of the very joy of life itself. And surely enough 
this composer should have a happy time of it. 
Freed from harassing cares by the thoughtful 
action of his publishers, relieved from teaching 
except when he chooses, his life has had no great 
obstacles to cast their shadows over his radiant 
creativeness. Not yet at the crest of his powers, 


we may reasonably look for even finer works from 
his pen. 

In an age when the whole of Europe is plunged 
into a turmoil of elemental strife, when the 
huge errors of an apparently materialistic age 
have brought about such dire results, the value 
of such idealistic and optimistic music cannot be 
over-estimated. In our desire to be rid of the 
music of the heavy German type of Bruckner, 
the megalomania of Mahler and the risky sanity 
of Schonberg, we have thrown ourselves some- 
what thoughtlessly into the arms of the lachry- 
mose Russians and at the present moment we 
seem inclined to swallow anything under a Slav 
patronymic, good, bad, or indifferent, with equal 
relish. Our British composers are at the least 
the equal of those of any other country, and 
should be so recognised. Perhaps this survey 
of Cyril Scott, the man and his music, may con- 
tribute its quota towards such a consummation. 




First Symphony. First performed at Darm- 
stadt. (Now destroyed). 

Second Symphony. First performed by Sir 
Henry Wood. Later converted into Three 
Orchestral Dances and first so performed in 
Birmingham, conducted by the composer. 

Heroic Suite for Orchestra. First performed by 
Richter at Manchester. This work was re- 
garded later by the composer as immature, 
and withdrawn. 

Overture to Pelleas and Melisande. First per- 
formed in Frankfort. 2nd Edition re- 
worked from an earlier attempt. 

Overture to Princess Maleine with Chorus. First 
performed in Vienna. 2nd Edition (re- 

Christmas Overture for Orchestra with Nativity 
Hymn for Chorus and Orchestra. Intended 
Viennese performances stopped by war. 


Ballad of Fair Helen of Kirkconnel for baritone 
Solo and Orchestra. Sung by Mr. Frederic 

Two Passacaglias on Irish Themes for Orchestra. 
First performed by Beecham at a Philhar- 
monic Concert. 

Pianoforte Concerto. First given in Beecham ? s 
English Festival. Full Score : Augener. 

Rhapsody for Orchestra. 

Aubade for Orchestra. 2nd Edition reworked. 
Performed in Darmstadt, Dresden and Ber- 
lin. Published by Schott. 

La Belle Dame Sans Merci. 


Pianoforte Quartet, Op. 16. First played by 
Kreisler and others at a Broadwood Concert 
in St. James' Hall. (Boosey). 

String Quartet. Performed widely in Germany 
by the Rebner Quartet party. Withdrawn 
and partly reworked. 

Pianoforte Quintet. 1 Performed at one of his 
own Concerts at Bechstein Hall. 

Sonata for Violin and Piano. 2 Performed in 
Cologne Frankfurt, Berlin, New York, &c. 

1 Awaiting" publication. 
2 Schott & Co. 


Pianoforte Sonata. Performed widely by Moekle 
in Germany, Austria, Switzerland. (Elkin). 

Pianoforte Trio. Unpublished and discarded. 
Early work. 

Handelian Rhapsody for Piano. Early work, 
edited by Percy Grainger. (Elkin). 


Of the earliest pieces, only a few are pub- 
lished : 


3. April Love. 

4. Little Lady of my Heart (Songs). 

(Me Tyler). 

5. No. 182, Dairy Song and Yvonne of 

Brittany (Boosey & Co.) 
9. Daphnis and Chloe (Boosey & Co.) 
20. Three Dances (Boosey & Co.) 

24. Two Poems for Voice and Piano (Elkin) : 

(i) Voices of Vision. 
(ii) Willows. 

25. Scherzo for Piano (Elkin). 

30. (i) A Last Word (Ma Mie). Song 

(Boosey & Co.) 

(ii) There comes an end to Summer. Song 
(Boosey & Co.) 



31. Asleep. Song (Boosey Co.) 

32. Autumnal. Song ,, 

33. Villanelle. Song 

34. Evening Hymn. Song ,, 

35. Two Pierrot Pieces ,, 

(i) Lento. 

(ii) Allegro. 
30. Two Songs (Elkin) : 

(i) A Valediction. 

(ii) Sorrow. 

37. Two Piano Pieces (Boosey & Co.) 
88. (i) My Captain. Song (Elkin). 

(ii) Trafalgar. Song (Boosey & Co.) 

39. Dagobah for Piano (Forsyth). 
Chinese Serenade. 

40. (i) Solitude (Elkin). 
(ii) Vesperale. 

(iii) Chimes. 

41. Impromptu (Elkin) : 

(i) Eileen. ) 

(ii) The Ballad Singer. ( (Boosey & Co.) 
(iii) Mary. } 

43. Three Songs (Elkin) : 

(i) A Gift of Silence. 

(ii) Don't come in, Sir, please! 

(iii) The White Knight. 

44. Missing. 

45. Missing. 



46. Two Chinese Songs (Elkin) : 

(i) (a) Waiting. 
(b) A Picnic. 
(ii) A Song of Wine. 

47. Two Pieces for Piano (Elkin) : 

(i) Lotus Land. 
(ii) Columbine. 

48. Missing. 

49. Missing. 

50. Song and Piece (Elkin) : 

(i) Aspodel, Sketch for Piano, 
(ii) Afterday Song. 

52. Three Songs (Elkin) : 

(i) Song of London. 
(ii) A Roundel of Rest. 
(iii) A Blackbird Song. 

53. Missing. 

54. Summer Time (Elkin) : 

(i) Playtime. 

(ii) A Song from the East. 
(iii) Evening Idyll. 
(iv) Fairy Folk. 

(v) Notturno. 

55. (i) Two Old English Lyrics (Elkin): 

(a) Lovely Kind and Kindly Loving. 

(b) Why so Pale and Wan? 
(ii) Song, "Love's Quarrel." 



56. Two Songs (Elkin) : 

(i) A twain. 
(ii) Insouciance. 

57. Three Songs for Piano (Elkin) : 

(i) Prelude. 
(ii) Lullaby. 
(iii) Scotch Lullaby. 

Also Two Sketches for Piano (Easy) (Elkin) 
(iv) Cuckoo Call. 
(v) Twilight Bells. 

58. (i) Three Little Waltzes (Elkin) : 

(a) Allegro poco Scherzando. 

(b) Andante Languido. 

(c) Allegretto Gracioso. 
(ii) Two Alpine Sketches. 

(iii) Danse Negre. 

59. Missing. 

60. Missing. 

61. Two Songs (Elkin) : 

(a) Serenade. 

(b) In a Fairy Boat. 

62. Three Songs (Elkin) : 

(i) A Lost Love. 
(ii) A Vision. 
(iii) An Eastern Lament. 

63. Sphinx for Piano (Elkin). 



64. Etudes (Elkin): 

(i) Allegro. 
(ii) Allegro con Brio. 

65. Song, "And so I made a Villanelle." 

66. Sonata for Piano (Elkin). 

67. Four pieces for Piano (Elkin) : 

(i) Mazurka. 

(ii) Serenata. 

(iii) Intermezzo. 

(iv) Soiree Japonaise. 

68. Two Songs (Elkin) : 

(i) Daffodils. 
(ii) Osm^s Song. 

69. Missing. 

70. Two Songs (Elkin) : 

(i) My Lady Sleeps. 
(ii) Mirage. 

71. Songs and Pieces (Elkin) : 

(i) Suite in the old style for Piano, 

Prelude, Sarabande and Minuet. 
(ii) Song, " Evening." 
(iii) Bergeronnette (Water- Wagtail) 
for Piano. 

72. Four Songs (Elkin) : 

(i) A Spring Ditty. 

(ii) Arietta. 

(iii) The Trysting Tree. 
(iv) The Valley of Silence. 



73. Three pieces for Violin and Piano (Schott) : 

(i) Elegy. 
(ii) Romance. 
(iii) Valse triste. 

74. (a) Trois Dances Tristes for Violin and 

Piano (Schott) : 
(i) Danse elegiaque. 
(ii) Danse orientale. 
(iii) Danse langoureuse. 

(b) Valse Caprice for Piano. 

(c) Chansonette do. 

75. Second Suite for Piano (Schott) : 

(i) Prelude. 

(ii) Air vane. 
(iii) Solemn Dance. 
(iv) Caprice and Fuga. 

(v) Introduction. 

76. Missing. 

77. Aubade for Orchestra (Schott). 


Intermezzo (Elkin) (1910). 
Tallahassee Suite (Schott) (1911) : 

(i) Bygone Memories. 

(ii) After Sundown. 

(iii) Air et Danse negre. 


Cherry Ripe (Schott) (1911). 
Deux Preludes (Schott) (1912). 
The Gentle Maiden (Schott) (1912). 


An English Valse (Novello). First piece ever 

published. Then followed. 
Album of Six Pieces (Forsyth). 
Three Frivolous Pieces ,, 
Two Villanelles for Vocal Quartet with piano 

and viola accompaniment (unpublished). 
Over the Prairie (Two Impressions) (1911). 
Berceuse (Elkin) (1911). 
British Melodies (Elkin) : 

(i) All through the night. 

(ii) The wild hills of Clare. 

(iii) Sumer is in. 
Pierrette (Elkin) (1912). 
Impressions from the Jungle Book (Schott) 

(1912) : 
(i) The Jungle. 

(ii) Dawn. 

(iii) Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and the Snake. 

(iv) Morning Song in the Jungle. 
(v) Dance of the Elephants. 


Egypt (Schott) (1912) : 

(i) In the Temple of Memphis. 

(ii) By the Waters of the Nile. 

(iii) Egyptian Boat Song. 

(iv) Funeral March of the Great Raamses, 

(v) Song of the spirits of the Nile. 
Poems (Schott) (1912) : 
(i) Poppies. 

(ii) The Garden of Soul-Sympathy. 

(iii) Bells. 

(iv) The Twilight of the year. 

(v) Paradise-Birds. 
Pastoral Suite (Elkin) (1913) : 
(i) C our ante. 

(ii) Pastorale. 

(iii) Rigaudon. 

(iv) Rondo. 

(v) Passacaglia. 

Prelude Solennelle (Elkin) (1913). 
Cavatina , , , , 

Sea Marge (Elkin) (1914). 

Danse Romantique ,, ,, 

Diatonic Study ,, ,, 

Ode Hero'ique ,, ,, 

Russian Dance ,, (1915). 

Miniatures ,, ,, 

Irish Reel ,, ,, 


Russian Suite (Air, Siberian Waltz, Dance) 

(Elkin) (1916). 

Requiescat (Elkin) (1917). 

Rondeau de Concert 


Love's Aftermath (Elkin) (1911). 

An Old Song ended ,, ,, 
Pierrot and the Moon Maiden ,, (1912). 

Sleep Song ,, ,, 

In the Valley ,, ,, 

Retrospect ,, (1913). 

Autumn Song ,, ,, 

Nocturne ,, 

Old Songs in New Guise ,, ,, 
(i) Where be going? 

(ii) Drink to me only with thine eyes. 

(iii) Sumer is icumen in. 

A Song of Arcady (Elkin) (1914). 

A u t umn y s Lute , , , , 
A Prayer ,, 

Evening Melody. ,, ,, 

Lilac Time. ,, ,, 

Meditation (1915) 


Night Song (Elkin) (1915). 


Invocation. ,, ,, 

Tyrolese Evening Song (1916). 

Looking Back (Elkin) (1917). 

The Sands of Dee ,, ,, 

Requiem ,, ,, 

The Pilgrim Cranes , , , , 

The Little Bells of Sevilla 

Modern Finger Exercises ,, ,, 


Scotch Pastoral on " Fe banfo a?ic? braes" 
(Hansen, Copenhagen). 

Pierrot amoureux (Schott). 

(Piano and Viola obligate) 
Two Villanelles (1911). 


Fantasie (written for Mr. Lionel Tertis) Unpub- 



Six Pieces (transcribed by Arthur W. Pollitt) 
(Elkin) : 
(i) Vesperale. 
(ii) Alpine Sketch. 
(iii) Chansonette. 
(iv) A Song from the East. 
(v) Solitude. 
(vi) Berceuse. 

Six Pieces (transcribed by A. Eaglefield Hull) 
(Elkin) : 

(i) Ode Hero'ique. 
(ii) Over the Prairie. 
(iii) Diatonic Study. 
(iv) Cavatina. 
(v) Evening Idyll. 
(vi) Prelude Solennelle. 




The Shadows of Silence and the Songs of 
Yesterday (Liverpool : Donald Fraser). 

The Grave of Eros and The Book of Mournful 
Melodies with Dreams from the East 
(Liverpool : Donald Fraser). 

The Voice of the Ancient (London : J. M. 

The Vales of Unity (London : David Nutt). 

The Celestial Aftermath, A Springtide of the 
Heart, and Far-away Songs (London: 
Chatto Windus). 

Translations from the German of Stefan George, 
Flowers of Evil from the French of Baude- 
laire (London : Elkin Mathews). 


The Philosophy of Modernism (in its connection 
with music) (London : Kegan Paul, Trench, 
Trubner&Co., Ltd.) 

Printed in Great Britain by Ebenezer Baylis ft Son, Trinity Works, Worcester, 



Hull, Arthur Kaglei'ielci 
Cyril Scott. 2d ed.